Frequently asked questions

We strongly recommend you read the FAQs in combination with the:

What is the Indigenous Research Exchange grant program?

AIATSIS is committed to ensuring greater involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in setting research priorities, leading research projects and determining the appropriate collection and use of data about communities. The Indigenous Research Exchange (the Exchange) Grant Program will:

  • support high quality impactful Indigenous led research 
  • improve the accessibility and availability of quality robust research and evidence based solutions
  • support organisations (outside of research bodies) to participate in research activities that will have relevance and impact beyond the community and project

What are the 2020-21 Indigenous Research Exchange Grant priorities?

The AIATSIS Indigenous Research Exchange Advisory Board (the Advisory Board) provides strategic guidance to the Grants Program and ensures the outcomes and objectives are achieved. Funding will only be provided to projects that are consistent with the published priorities for the particular year of funding or targeted round.

What is an open round grant opportunity?

Participation in the annual open competitive grant opportunity is available to all eligible organisations wanting to deliver Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander led projects that are aligned with the Exchange program objectives and priorities established by AIATSIS. All applications are given a minimum of two independent assessments and scored against each of the three assessment criteria, with applications then ranked in order of merit.

What is a targeted round grant opportunity?

Participation in the targeted round grant opportunity is a competitive grant opportunity (called ‘Targeted Round’) for eligible organisations who can address a particular identified research need. 

Targeted rounds will be advertised on the AIATSIS website and through other communication channels.

What if my project is impacted by COVID-19?

As the advice received by the Australian Government's Department of Health changes, the Indigenous Research Exchange funding grant rounds and funded projects will continue as planned. Any changes to the grants program as a result of COVID-19 will be posted on the Exchange website

If you have any concerns during the application process or whilst your approved project is being undertaken, please contact the Exchange team to discuss:

If I am applying for funding under an auspicing arrangement do I need a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the auspicing organisation?

When applying for Exchange grant funding through an auspicing arrangement both parties should consider developing an MOU that clearly sets out the expectations for both parties. This will alleviate any confusion and will ensure a smooth delivery of the project.

How should I demonstrate evidence of community support?

All projects must be led by and have the support of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait peoples to undertake the proposed project. You should consider how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can lead, be involved in the governance, planning and delivery of the project, as well as participating in the project. We expect to see evidence of community support, for example through letters from community representatives

If the applicant organisation is a non-Indigenous organisation, letters of support should also outline how the author and/or organisation they represent has been engaged with the planning and will continue to be engaged with over the life of the project.

When your project is assessed, the level of community support for your project will be taken into consideration as well as the scope and scale of the project. If your project will be delivered in multiple communities, you should provide evidence that all participating communities support the project.

Some examples of organisations you might seek support from include:

  • Native Title and Traditional Owner organisations 
  • Elders Councils 
  • Relevant local Aboriginal corporations that work in the area of the project such as Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, cultural and arts centres, resource agencies, reference groups, research centres
  • Other non-government agencies such as those working with young people, employment, housing, substance abuse, justice issues
  • Local Aboriginal Land Councils 
  • Aboriginal Local government organisations

How will my application be assessed? 

Applications are assessed against criteria outlined in Section 4, in the grant funding guidelines (PDF, 772KB). Applications are rated based on the weighting given to each criterion outlined below. The amount of detail and supporting evidence you provide in your application should be relative to the project size, complexity and grant amount requested.

Take the time to carefully read the program guidelines to ensure your application clearly describes the project, answers the questions, and addresses the selection criteria and program outcomes outlined in the program guidelines. The three assessment criteria are as follows:

  1. Indigenous leadership, governance and collaboration
  2. Project quality
  3. Impact and contribution

Who can I contact for help regarding my SmartyGrants application?

In the first instance you should email the Exchange team or phone (02) 6246 1603 for any advice about the Exchange funding grant program or if you have questions about submitting a grant application.

If your enquiry is a technical IT SmartyGrants system issue that we are unable to assist with, then your issue will be referred to the SmartyGrants help desk for assistance.

How do I submit a grant application?

Applications (including all supporting documentation) must be submitted using SmartyGrants, an online grant management system.

Apply now

When you have submitted your application, you will receive an automated message advising you that we have received your application.

If you do not receive this message please contact the Exchange team as soon as possible.

Can I submit a late application?

Applications, including supporting documentation must be submitted via SmartyGrants on or before the due date. No late applications will be considered. 

How will my application be assessed?

Eligible applications will be considered through an external assessment process. An independent expert panel will assess your application against each of the three assessment criteria. 

Your application will be considered on its merits, based on:

  • how well it meets the criteria 
  • how it compares to other applications 
  • whether it provides value for money. 

When will I know if my application has been successful?

We anticipate notifying all applicants of the outcome of their application by mid December 2020. You will receive an email advising the outcome of your application.  

How can I find out why my application was not successful?

If your application is not successful you will be formally advised and at the same time, you will be invited to seek more detailed feedback.

What happens if only part of our funding request is approved?

It is possible that the AIATSIS CEO, as the delegate, may approve partial funding based on the assessors feedback. If this happens, we will work with your organisation to revise the project objectives, deliverables and budget before finalising your funding agreement.

Does my project have to be approved by the AIATSIS Research Ethics Committee?

All applications supported for funding will require ethical review by the AIATSIS Research Ethics Committee (REC) before the project begins. Release of funds will be dependent on ethical approval.  

Last reviewed: 3 Sep 2020