2019/20 Queensland Citizen Science Grants Guidelines

Applications are now closed for the 2019/20 Queensland Citizen Science Grants.

Apply for the Engaging Science Grants if you need funding support for a citizen science project—these grants are now open.

About 2019/20 program

The Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist in 2016 developed a strategy for Engaging Queenslanders in Science, with the goal of creating a Queensland population that engages in, recognises, supports and advocates for science.

The Queensland citizen science strategy (PDF, 3.7MB) responds to this goal by raising awareness of citizen science and citizen science projects relevant to Queensland, making it easy for the community to participate in citizen science projects and growing the citizen science community.

Adopting the Australian Citizen Science Association definition, citizen science is: “public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge”.

To support increasing public participation in Queensland scientific research the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist is offering competitive Queensland Citizen Science Grants. The grants are designed to support scientists, organisations and community groups to conduct citizen science projects that tackle important issues in Queensland.

Grants of up to $30,000 each (excluding GST) are available in this funding round to applicants over a period of up to three years.

The Queensland Government’s vision is to encourage Queenslanders’ awareness and participation in citizen science projects. Discoveries made from citizen science can improve scientific knowledge, engage people directly with the scientific process, empower people to understand aspects of their own communities, and provide vital information for decision makers.

The Queensland Citizen Science Grants are open to applicants whose projects actively engage citizen scientists and address one or more of the Queensland citizen science strategy goals:

  • raise awareness: work together to ensure the Queensland community has an understanding of citizen science and the projects which are relevant to Queensland
  • make it easy: make it easier for our community to find and participate in projects and for scientists to recruit and train citizen scientists. This includes making it easy to upload, find and use the data
  • grow the community: grow our community of citizen scientists and scientists working together to make scientific discoveries.

Funding is available for new or existing citizen science projects that involve active participation by citizen scientists.

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Great Barrier Reef catchments per region

For this round, $500,000 over three years is allocated for citizen science projects of all types.

In addition, $180,000 of funds will be allocated to citizen science projects that contribute to improving reef health and protecting the Great Barrier Reef. This funding will support local on-ground action and empower communities in Reef regions to be actively involved in Reef stewardship through research and enhance a greater understanding of Reef health in their region. Six grants will be allocated, one for each of the natural resource management regions in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Applications are currently closed.

Program objective

The Queensland Citizen Science Grants are offered to increase community participation in citizen science projects and for scientists and citizen scientists to work in partnership to increase scientific knowledge.

Projects vary in how citizen scientists contribute, and there are many ways in which people can take part in scientific investigations – from formulating questions, to collecting samples (samples could include scats, weeds, taking photographs, recording sounds) and analysing data as well as writing and disseminating outcomes.

As with any scientific research, citizen science projects should have a project leader and explicit scientific objectives and outcomes resulting in credible, reliable data that will be shared (as appropriate) with participants, the science community, and the broader public.

The types of citizen science activities eligible for funding include, but are not limited to:

  • delivering a new citizen science project: the project leader conducts project design research (including prototyping) with anticipated community stakeholders, and develops a project that engages community members to collect and/or analyse samples or data. There must be a demonstrated need for new projects and we encourage applicants to reach out to collaborate with other existing projects
  • enhancing an existing project: the project leader of a well-established project aims to extend duration, collaborations, reach, citizen scientist activities, and/or other aspects of project scope
  • developing communications to increase engagement: developing or enhancing a website or producing a media/social media campaign (may involve video production) to recruit interest and participation in a new or existing project during the project timeline
  • designing new technology: developing software (such as a mobile app) or hardware (such as camera traps, sample collection tools) to help in data or sample collection or data analysis—this is then tested and used by a  citizen scientist group as part of the project
  • training and resource creation: developing training materials, teaching citizen scientists and then guiding them through a new/existing project, including activities such as collecting samples or analysing data.

Project activities can be delivered entirely by the applicant’s project leader, members of the applicant organisation or with the assistance of a partner organisation, depending on project needs.

Project eligibility criteria

To be eligible the applicant’s project must:

  • be a citizen science project that Queenslanders can participate in
    • the project can include research into best practices for citizen science or development of an app or other technology, but must also include an activity for citizen scientists to participate in at some point in the project timeline
  • align with the Australian Citizen Science Association definition of citizen science: “public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge”
  • align with at least one of the three goals outlined in the Queensland citizen science strategy as outlined above

Projects that engage a wide group of stakeholders or involved Queenslanders from regional or remote areas will be looked upon favourably.

The applicant must also:

  • demonstrate the project need and identify how any new projects complement existing initiatives
  • explain why the project design was chosen or how they plan to create or extend a successful project
  • identify how the Queensland community will be recruited or involved as citizen scientists in the project
  • identify how the performance of the project will be evaluated
  • identify a scientific adviser and explain the hypothesis being tested and the scientific methodology/analysis the project will use
  • not place an unreasonable financial burden on citizen scientists
  • contribute data to open access repositories when applicable or explain why this is not appropriate
  • share results publicly—explain how results will be communicated with participants, the science community, and the wider Queensland community
  • acknowledge the contribution of citizen scientists in any publications the applicant produces as a result of the project.

An applicant can only apply for one (1) grant per project. An applicant may lodge multiple grant applications providing these are for different projects.

Applications should be completed and submitted electronically via the Queensland Government website. The online lodgement process is hosted via a secure site, and application documentation will remain strictly confidential.

Applicant eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a grant, an applicant must have an address located in Queensland, such as an office, chapter or campus. Applicants must also have an Australian Business Number.

Recipients of other grants are eligible to apply.

Collaboration between institutions (e.g. organisations, research institutes, media organisations, community groups, government) will be highly regarded, as will activities that involve co-contribution to the project.

Applicants or project leaders involved in creating or consulting on the Queensland citizen science strategy or the Queensland Citizen Science Grant guidelines are eligible to apply for funding, but must also declare this involvement as a conflict of interest.

Using the Queensland Citizen Science Grant funds

The proposed project must be delivered within the agreed timeframe (the timeframe you proposed in your application up to three years) from the date the Financial Incentive Agreement is fully executed (the project start date).

Only costs incurred after an applicant has received the funding approval can be claimed as part of the project expenditure, regardless of whether the project is new or already exists.

The grant funds may be used for the following activities where applicable:

  • project design and research including adaptive management improvements, social science studies and evaluation of volunteer surveys at the beginning or end of the project (no more than 20% of the total requested funds are to be used on this component)
  • consulting costs – direct consultation expends for activities, such as project management, project design, technology development, communications
  • project management, marketing, media, and promotions – printing of marketing materials and advertisements
  • administration – permit fees, insurance
  • development of software (such as a mobile app) or tools/hardware tested and used by citizen scientists during this project
  • a limited amount of project-related equipment (totalling no more than 50 per cent of the requested funds)
  • travel directly relating to the project
  • sample and/or data collection
  • other associated and relevant costs directly attributable to the delivery of the citizen science project.

The following activities are ineligible for funding under this program:

  • organisational overheads at the applicant organisation
  • an open house, e.g. invite the local community to a conducted tour of your scientific premises
  • an event, seminar, or workshop that does not later involve citizen scientist participation or collaboration during the project timeline
  • the delivery of curriculum-based classroom lessons
  • activities that generate a profit
  • proposals that centre largely around the acquisition of equipment or software e.g. iPads, drones or teaching software (no more than 50 per cent is to be spent on equipment or software)
  • a project that does not actively engage citizen scientists in scientific research, data collection/analysis, or sample collection/analysis, or educate citizen scientists about the scientific method and outcomes of a specific project.

Funding for successful projects will be paid following the approval of successful applications on the following basis:

  • 40% at start of the project
  • 40% at the project mid-point
  • 20% on project completion.

To claim the 40% at the start of the project, the Financial Incentive Agreement must have been signed by the Department and a valid tax invoice must be sent to the Department.

To claim the mid-project 40% amount, a short project mid-point progress report and current outcomes of the project is required along with a valid tax invoice.

To claim the final 20% a short report upon project completion, including project evaluation outcomes and acquittal of project funds is required along with a valid tax invoice.

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.

Assessment criteria

1. The design, reach, and impact of the project.

(Weight: 40%)

Summary: Explain your project aims, how you will carry out the project, how you will involve citizen scientists, and what the results of your project will be.

Applicants must outline:

  • project framework, methodology for the collection of data and/or analysis of data
  • target audience and the expected number of individuals engaged in the project
  • extent of collaboration with other citizen science project leaders, scientists, other researchers, community groups or organisations who will provide expertise, skills or local knowledge, including identifying a scientific adviser for the project
  • additionally, for new projects: the demonstrated need for the new project and how the project will complement existing initiatives
  • the plan for communication with members of the public before, during, and after participation in the project (attach a copy of the communications plan to your application)
    • why the project is suitable or beneficial for the target audience and/or Queensland, including: how/what new skills citizens will learn during the project
    • whether the proposed research will contribute to public policy formulation and debate
    • whether the proposed research will contribute to economic, environmental, social, health and/or cultural benefits to Queensland
    • the anticipated outcomes of the project and in particular: how the outcomes will advance scientific knowledge in the relevant field of study; and how the project will empower Queenslanders taking part in citizen science
  • where relevant, the importance to a remote/regional community and the lack of access to such a project
  • how this project will help advance citizen science as a scientific research method more broadly.

2. Clear alignment with the Queensland citizen science strategy.

(Weight: 30%)

Summary: Explain how your project aligns with at least one of the goals of the Queensland citizen science strategy.

Applicants must demonstrate:

  • how the project will address one or more of the following Queensland citizen science strategy’s three goals:
    • raise awareness: work together to ensure the Queensland community has an understanding of citizen science and the projects which are relevant to Queensland
    • make it easy: make it easier for our community to find and participate in projects and for scientists to recruit and train citizen scientists. Let’s also make it easy to upload, find and use the data
    • grow the community: grow our community of citizen scientists and scientists working together to make scientific discoveries.

3. Your capacity, capability and resources to carry out the project.

(Weight: 30%)

Summary: Demonstrate how you will ensure the success of your project.

Applicants must outline:

  • the skills and experience of the applicant’s project leader and any partner organisations assisting or involved in the project, including any track record with previous citizen science projects
  • access to any required study sites, infrastructure, technology, intellectual property and ability to meet the particular regulatory requirements of the project (particularly collection permits if required)
  • the project budget including key expenditure items
  • why the project would not go ahead without the grant funding, or how the grant will impact the project in terms of its scope and outcomes
  • any financial or in-kind support from sponsors or partners. Letters of support should be attached where possible confirming any commitment
  • for existing citizen science projects, letter/s of recommendation outlining the scientific achievements of the project to date.

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed:

  • through a competitive, merit-based process, against the program’s eligibility and assessment criteria
  • by a panel of assessors with relevant scientific, research, citizen science, and/or communication backgrounds.

The number of grants awarded will depend on the number and quality of applications received and the available funding pool at a given time.

Applicants and/or project leaders may be contacted during the assessment process to clarify information provided and/or to request additional information to enable the appropriate consideration of the application.

Terms and Conditions and Financial Incentive Agreement

The Queensland Citizen Science Grant Terms and Conditions (PDF, 755.9KB) will be available on the department’s website while the program is open. Applicants must read, understand and accept these Terms and Conditions before applying for funding as they will not be amended.

The Terms and Conditions and accompanying schedules, together with your successful application, and the Guidelines, will form the Financial Incentive Agreement between the recipient organisation and the Department.

The project start date is the date the Financial Incentive Agreement is signed by the Department.

If the application is successful the applicant organisation listed in the application becomes the recipient organisation under the Financial Incentive Agreement.

The recipient organisation must acknowledge the State’s support in any material published in connection with the Queensland Citizen Science Grant funding.


The Queensland Government collects and collates information from the application form to evaluate applications for the program. Only authorised Queensland Government officers and approved grant assessors have access to this information under the Financial Accountability Act 2009 for the purpose of assessing the application for funding.

Applicants should note that broad details of successful proposals, agreed outcomes, progress, and the level of funding awarded may be published by the Queensland Government.

Some of this information may be used and published to promote funded projects.

Your personal information will not be disclosed to any other third party without your consent, unless required or authorised by law or by the Information Privacy Act 2009.

For audit and record-keeping purposes, the Queensland Government is required to retain the applications and other supplied support material.

The provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 apply to documents in the possession of the Queensland Government.

How to apply

Applications are currently closed.

The application consists of:

  • a completed online application form
  • scanned (PDF) letters of support or recommendations from the project leader applicant organisation and partner organisation(s), if applicable.

All scanned documents can be submitted as part of the online application process.

Ensure you have read and accepted the Terms and Conditions of the Financial Incentive Agreement (PDF, 755.9KB) prior to submitting an application for funding, as the terms and conditions will not be negotiable when or at any time after a funding offer is made.

Further information