Frequently asked questions
What is the definition of citizen science project?
We have adopted the definition created by the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA): “public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge”.
A citizen science project must involve members of the public participating in activities such as (but not limited to):
- collecting biological, geological or artificial (such as litter) samples
- collecting data (such as recording the presence of flora, fauna, natural landscape features, objects in space)
- taking photographs, video or audio recordings
- analysing previously collected samples or data
- analysing photographs, video or audio recordings.
A citizen science project must also follow a scientific methodology or involve hypothesis testing. For example, we would not consider volunteers planting trees in an area of cleared bushland to be a citizen science project. To fit our definition of a citizen science, a project should include a hypothesis such as, “The number of native animal species will increase if trees are planted in an area of cleared bushland.” Citizen scientists could then be involved in preliminary faunal surveys prior to tree planting, or involved in surveys after the tree planting.
To be eligible for the Grants, if citizen scientists volunteer in non-data collection and non-data analysis activities (such as planting trees or building structures to protect wildlife), project leaders must include a session or sessions to educate citizen scientists about the purpose of the project, the hypothesis being tested, and keep them updated on the outcomes of the project.
Who can apply?
As indicated in the guidelines of the Queensland Citizen Science Grants, funding is open to applicants who are Queensland-based with an Australian Business Number.
Scientists, researchers, community groups and non-for-profit organisations are all encouraged to apply.
Who is the ‘applicant’ and who is the ‘recipient’?
The applicant is the Queensland-based and ABN registered organisation, or a Queensland-based and ABN registered person making an application in their individual capacity, who is applying for a Queensland Citizen Science Grant.
The recipient is the applicant specified in the Application to carry out the Project who has been awarded a Queensland Citizen Science Grant, and includes, where relevant, its officers, employees, contractors, agents, volunteers and invitees.
Who is the ‘project leader’?
The project leader is the individual who works as part of the applicant organisation and who will direct the project activities.
Who is the ‘scientific adviser’?
The scientific adviser is an individual who will work with the project leader (they may also be the project leader). They will have specialist qualifications or skills in the field of science that the project focuses on. These qualifications or skills may have been gained at a university, vocational educational institute, or through years of experience in the field. The scientific adviser will provide advice on hypothesis testing, data collection and analysis, and/or interpreting project results. They will also provide advice on the best way to ensure the scientific community can use the data collected, and (if requested by the applicant) help to collaborate with researchers to produce research papers.
Can a Queensland Government employee apply for a grant?
Yes, a Queensland Government employee who works as a volunteer of a citizen science group, with a project that aligns with the definition in paragraph 3 of the Queensland Citizen Science Grant guidelines, are eligible to apply.
Can a Queensland statutory authority apply for a grant?
Yes, a Queensland Government statutory authority with a project that aligns with the definition in paragraph 3 of the Queensland Citizen Science Grant guidelines are eligible to apply.
Can a Queensland Government department or organisation apply for a grant?
No, a Queensland Government department or organisation is not eligible to apply for a Queensland Citizen Science Grant.
What does it mean to be Queensland-based?
To be eligible an applicant must have a business address located in Queensland, such as an office, chapter or campus. The applicant also needs to have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and need to be offering a citizen science activity for Queenslanders.
Can there be more than one partner/collaborator?
Applications can include more than one partner. Collaboration with universities, research centres, community groups or government is strongly encouraged.
If I am an existing grant recipient of another funding program, am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, however, the applicant must report any cash contribution towards the citizen science project (including other Queensland Government, Australian Government or any other source of funding) in the application form under ‘Budget’ as ‘Funding from other sources’. The reporting of additional funding is an advantage for an application as it demonstrates the merit of the project.
If I am an existing grant recipient of a Queensland Citizen Science Grant, am I still eligible to apply?
Only if the application is for a different/unrelated citizen science project.
Can I use the grants to buy equipment?
Yes, equipment may be purchased using the funds for the purpose of the citizen science activity providing equipment costs are 50% or less of the total funding sought.
Can an organisation apply for a Queensland Citizen Science Grant if the proposed project involves products or services that they sell/provide?
No, the Queensland Citizen Science Grants funding cannot be used to pay for an organisation’s business activities such as marketing and promotion of products, services that they sell.
Promotion of the project for the purposes of recruiting citizen scientists to the project is allowable.
What is meant by “you must also not place an unreasonable financial burden on citizen scientists”?
The project should not require citizen scientists as volunteers to put large amounts of money toward the project or require unreasonable expenses.
This may include but is not limited to requiring:
- long-distance travel
- participants to buy or maintain expensive devices or equipment.
Does a project have to involve sample or data collection and/or analysis?
Yes. It is intended that citizen science projects are research projects with explicit scientific objectives and outcomes resulting in credible, reliable data that will be shared (as appropriate) with participants, the science community and the public.
If the correct permits have been obtained (where required), samples could include but are not limited to plants, animal droppings/scats, insects, geological specimens, as well as photographs of flora, fauna, or ecosystems, audio recordings of animal calls, decibel measurements of noise pollution, light sensor readings of light pollution and so on. Data could include but are not limited to surveys recording the presence and number of flora or fauna in an ecosystem, measuring air or water quality, lengths and weights of plants or animals and so on.
If the project will involve volunteer community participation but does not include the critical aspect of citizen science—“public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge” as defined by the Australian Citizen Science Association—then it is not eligible for funding.
What is a communications plan?
A communications plan is a document outlining the project’s target audience, goals and strategy for communication including the channels used (such as websites, social media and media, newsletters, email, forums) to reach the target audience, for example, those a project leader wishes to recruit or involve in the citizen science project. The plan must include a timeline for communication and identify ways to measure the effectiveness of communication. The plan should also include a strategy for notifying participating citizen scientists of the outcomes of the project and any publications or policy changes that might result from it.
The applicant is required to attach a copy of the communications plan (maximum 3 pages) to the application. This template communications plan is provided for your use.
What reef projects will be given special consideration?
In the 2020 round of funding, $180,000 will be allocated to six citizen science projects that protect the Great Barrier Reef. Six grants will be allocated, one for each of the natural resource management regions in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. To be eligible for this consideration, projects must demonstrate one of the following:
- How they will help collect data that contributes to improving Reef health, where Reef is defined as the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area including its catchments.
- How they will help educate citizens on challenges that the Reef is facing and empower communities to take local on-ground action.
Are only reef-related citizen science projects going to be funded in this round?
No, for this current round of grants, a dedicated portion of funds will be allocated to citizen science projects supporting the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. This is in addition to the general funds available for citizen science projects—$500,000 over three years is allocated for these projects.
How will grant applications be assessed?
Applications will be assessed:
- through a competitive, merit-based process, against the program’s assessment criteria
- by a panel of independent assessors with relevant scientific, research and/or citizen science and communication backgrounds.
How to apply
How do I apply for a Queensland Citizen Science Grant?
Applications must be submitted online.
What is the closing date for applications?
The closing date for the Queensland Citizen Science Grants is 1:00 pm, Monday 9 March 2020. No extensions will be granted, so please ensure that the application is lodged well before the closing date.
Is there a limit to the number of grant applications I can lodge?
Only one application per project is permitted but an applicant can submit more than one application providing these are for different projects.
How can I check the status of my application?
Applicants will be notified in writing or via email on the outcome of their application.
When will I be notified of my application outcome?
Applicants will be notified approximately 2 months after the close of the funding round in which the application was submitted. However, high volumes of applications may result in longer assessment timeframes.
Can the application be revised after submission?
No. However, applicants must advise the department of any changes that are likely to affect eligibility.
How much can I apply for?
The funding award is capped at $30,000 per project with a maximum duration of three (3) years.
Must an applicant apply for a $30,000 grant?
No, funding of up to $30,000 is available for each project.
Must the project run for three (3) years?
No, funding is provided for up to three (3) years to enable adequate time for development and delivery of the project.
What is a rural or remote region of Queensland?
We define rural and remote regions of Queensland as any region not in a major city as indicated in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Remoteness Areas map. Rural and remote regions are classified as inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote areas.
When will the funds be available?
Due to the application process, it is expected that funding will not become available until June 2020. Applicants are to keep this in mind when considering their project timeframes.
What can the grant funding be used for?
The grant funds can be used for a new or existing project, and can be used on eligible costs such as labour, production, training, marketing, media, promotions, equipment, and other associated and relevant costs directly attributable to the delivery of the project.
The grant funds cannot be used for operational overhead expenses of the applicant organisation.
Can I use the Queensland Citizen Science Grants funding to pay for the time and expertise of my own staff/employees to deliver the proposed project?
Yes, the guidelines state that the Queensland Citizen Science Grants funding can be used for staff costs, for example direct salary costs for employees delivering the citizen science activity. The funding cannot be used for staffing costs not directly related to the delivery of the project, for example administrative support.
What is the program payment structure?
Funding for successful projects will be paid on the following basis:
- 40% at start of the project
- 40% at the project mid-point
- 20% on project completion.
The initial 40% will be paid after the Financial Incentive Agreement is signed by the Department and after the Department has received a valid tax invoice from the recipient. A short mid-project progress report and current outcomes of the project along with a valid tax invoice is required to claim the mid-project 40%, and a short report, inclusive of the project evaluation outcomes and acquittal of project funds along with a valid tax invoice, is required to claim the final 20%. An online template of the reports will be provided to the funding recipients.
The acquittal of the grants must be evidenced by invoices or any proof of payments made on the actual expenditures.
How are the project milestone dates determined?
The first project milestone (the project start date) is the date the Financial Incentive Agreement is signed by the Department. Based on the timeframe provided in the application form, the Department will advise the project mid-point and completion milestones.
What evidence is required in order to receive funding?
Valid tax invoices must be submitted by the recipient to the Department to receive funding, and must be accompanied by a milestone report both for the project mid-point and project completion payments.
Payment of instalments following submission of the project mid-point and project completion milestone reports will be dependent on the reports being satisfactory to the Department.
The acquittal of the grants must be evidenced by invoices or any proof of payments made on the actual expenditures.
What is a valid tax invoice?
A valid tax invoice:
- must be made out to the appropriate Queensland Government department
- must have contact email address of the applicant
- must have the correct amount and GST (for GST registered applicants)
- must have the applicant’s bank details such as bank account name, BSB and account numbers
Are grant payments subject to GST?
Yes, all applicants must have an ABN but do not necessarily have to be registered for GST. The grant amount (up to $30,000) excludes GST, however the grant payments will include GST if the applicant is registered for GST.
Is additional Queensland Citizen Science Grants funding available if the project costs exceed the approved funding?
No. Any costs exceeding the approved funding will have to be borne by the applicant and/or partners or sponsors if applicable.
Can I apply for funding support for a project that has already commenced prior to this application?
Yes. Existing citizen science projects are eligible for funding.
When should I commence the project?
The project will commence on the date the Department signs the Financial Incentive Agreement. The project must be completed within the project timeframe nominated by the recipient in the application, which will be reflected in the Financial Incentive Agreement.
How often will progress reports be required?
Progress reporting will take place at the mid-point of project and upon project completion.
What information will be required for progress reports?
A report template will be provided for completion by approved applicants.
Terms and conditions and Financial Incentive Agreement
What are the terms and conditions of the grant?
The terms and conditions forms part of the Financial Incentive Agreement and must be read prior to submitting the application.
Are the terms and conditions negotiable?
No, the applicant will be bound by the terms and conditions agreed to at the time of application.
If I am successful, is there an obligation to acknowledge the Queensland Government’s funding support?
Yes. You will initially be asked to keep the details of your grant confidential until it is announced officially by the Queensland Government. After the announcement, you will be required to acknowledge the Queensland Government support when publicly talking about the project, attending relevant media/promotion events, publishing relevant material, media releases and public statements. Acknowledgement wording and logo will be provided to successful applicants.
What is a Financial Incentive Agreement?
The Financial Incentive Agreement (FIA) is the legally binding document that outlines the conditions of the Queensland Citizen Science Grants, including the payment schedule and reporting requirements. The FIA is comprised of the Queensland Citizen Science Grants application, the Terms and Conditions, the Schedules and the Queensland Citizen Science Grants guidelines. Read the FIA prior to submitting the application.