Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

The Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme is a separate element of the Discovery Program that provides more focused support and creates more opportunities for early career researchers.


The objectives of the DECRA schemes are to:

  • Support and advance promising early career researchers;
  • Promote enhanced opportunities for diverse career pathways;
  • Focus research effort in the Strategic Research Priorities to improve research capacity and policy outcomes; and
  • Enable research and research training in high quality and supportive environments.


The ARC funds 200 DECRAs each year. A DECRA runs for three (3) years. The ARC will provide funding of:

  • Salary contribution just over $90,000 ($97,708 last round), including 30 per cent salary on-costs. Your school must cover the gap between ARC salary on-costs and RMIT salary on-costs.
  • A maximum of $40,000 per annum in project costs.

Selection process

Proposals will be assessed and ranked using the following selection criteria:

  • Project Quality and Innovation 40%
  • DECRA Candidate 35%
  • Project Research Environment 15%
  • Feasibility and Benefit 10%




23 Feb 2016

DEADLINE: Draft applications submitted (via RMS) to DSC

1 March 2016

DEADLINE: Request not to assess due at R&I

8 March 2016

DEADLINE: DECRA applications submitted via RMS to R&I with signed coversheets and certifications

22 March 2016

DECRA applications due at ARC

June 2016

Assessments released by ARC. You write your rejoinder

Oct / Nov 2016

Announcement of results by the ARC

1 Jan 2017

DECRA funding starts

Getting started

All those planning to submit Discovery, DECRA, or Future Fellowship application must submit a 2-page outline of their project (Expression of Interest) by 1 February as the first step (Project title, central research question, basic methods and design, expected outcomes, and brief track record). These outlines will be read by RMIT research staff who will provide comments and be available to discuss outlines with applicants. This process encourages applicants to formulate their working-title and central question in a clear and economical manner, before launching into a full draft. This will also make it possible to see whether the application meets a basic threshold of feasibility.

Grant development workshops

In the lead up to each funding round deadline, the DSC grants team runs grant development workshops on:

  • Updating your ARC profile
  • Budget preparation
  • Project planning
  • Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence (ROPE)
  • Project Research Environment
  • Data Management
  • RMS training
  • Rejoinder training

The DSC grants team also administers frequent information sessions and ‘Grant Camp’. For information on these events, including dates and locations, refer to the DSC grants calender: DSC grants calendar.


There are different people in the College that can provide diverse levels of feedback on your grant application:

  • The Deputy PVC (Research and Innovation) for the College can provide feedback and advice and will need to endorse all submitted applications.
  • RMIT readers are successful ARC recipients. They will provide mentoring, advice and feedback on your draft application.
  • School Deputy Deans (Research) will provide advice on your application and what support the School can offer.
  • If you are associated with a Research Centre, Group or Institute, the Head can provide advice on your application.
  • School finance officers can provide advice on budget matters.
  • The DSC Grants team read many applications. We can advise you on strategy, editing and compliance issues.
  • RMIT R&I staff check your application complies with all the rules and instructions and will submit your application to the ARC. They won’t submit incomplete or non-compliant applications. They will provide specific advice on compliance.

The DSC Grants team can also organise for external experts and advisors to provide feedback. For further information contact: