Frequently asked questions
Applications for the Engaging Science Grants are now open and close at 4pm Wednesday 8 November.
Who can apply?
As indicated in the guidelines of the Engaging Science Grants, funding is open to applicants who are Queensland-based with an Australian Business Number.
The grants are designed to support teachers, scientists, organisations, citizen science groups and community groups to deliver citizen science projects, STEM-based events, and educational activities to engage Queenslanders in scientific issues relevant to the state.
Can a Queensland Government employee apply for a grant?
Yes, a Queensland Government employee in their capacity as a teacher or who works as a volunteer for a community group may be eligible to apply.
Can a Queensland statutory authority apply for a grant?
No, a Queensland statutory authority is not eligible to apply.
Can a Queensland Government department apply for a grant?
No, a Queensland Government department is not eligible to apply for an Engaging Science Grant.
Can a Queensland Government school apply for a grant?
Yes, any school can apply through a teacher – including state, independent and catholic schools.
Can a school student apply for a grant?
School students are not eligible to apply. Schools need to make an application via a teacher.
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 engaging 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 may demonstrate the merit of the project.
If I am an existing grant recipient of either the Queensland Citizen Science Grants or Engaging Science Grants, am I still eligible to apply?
Only if the application is for a different/unrelated project or can demonstrate clear additionality to a previously funded project (such as a major enhancement or focus on a new priority cohort).
The department strongly encourages proposals from applicants or projects that have not been previous recipients of funding.
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 an Engaging Science Grant.
The recipient is the applicant specified in the application to carry out the project who has been awarded an Engaging Science Grant, and includes, where relevant, its officers, employees, contractors, agents, volunteers and invitees.
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).
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.
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 and provide the final report, tax invoice and proof of payments in support of the grant.
Who is the ‘scientific or STEM education adviser’?
The scientific or STEM education 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 or STEM education. These qualifications or skills may have been gained at a university, vocational educational institute, or through years of experience in the field.
Not all projects will have an adviser but collaboration with scientific or STEM education experts is highly regarded.
I am not sure I can finish my project within 12 months? Am I still eligible?
To be eligible for this round of Engaging Science Grants, applicants must agree to complete the project in up to 12 months.
It is expected that recipients will be notified by early 2024.
No extensions will be granted unless there is a genuine need due to unforeseen circumstances.
Can I use the grants to buy equipment?
Yes, equipment may be purchased using the funds for the activity or project, providing equipment costs are 50% or less of the total funding sought.
Can an organisation apply for an Engaging Science Grant if the proposed project involves products or services that they sell/provide?
No, the Engaging Science Grants funding cannot be used to pay for an organisation’s business activities such as marketing and promotion of products or services that they sell.
Promotion of the project for the purposes of recruiting event attendees, citizen scientists and so on to the project is allowable.
What is meant by “you must also not place an unreasonable financial burden on participants nor hold activities that generate a profit”?
The project should not require participants to put large amounts of money toward the project or incur unreasonable expenses.
This may include but is not limited to:
- expensive registration or participation fees
- long-distance travel
- participants needing to buy or maintain expensive devices or equipment.
Should you be charging a fee to participants, it is expected that those fees will cover some of the costs to deliver the project and should be listed under ‘Budget’ as ‘Funding from applicant organisation’.
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, and then be informed about how the data was used and how they have contributed.
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.
If I am running a citizen science project, does it have to align with the ACSA definition?
Yes. It is intended that citizen science projects align with ACSA’s definition: “public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge”.
If I am running a citizen science project, 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.
What is ecotourism?
Ecotourism is environmentally responsible visiting of relatively unspoilt natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features—both past and present), that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations. Regenerative tourism activities that deliver significant new knowledge and environmental outcomes would be eligible.
Ecotourism is further defined on the Department of Environment and Science website.
What is the Ecotourism Plan for Queensland’s Protected Areas 2023–2028?
The Ecotourism Plan for Queensland’s Protected Areas 2023–2028 provides the framework for planning and delivering immersive ecotourism experiences in Queensland’s spectacular national and marine parks and other protected areas.
One of the key priorities of the plan is to work with the ecotourism industry and research organisations to develop new regenerative tourism and citizen science offerings on and adjacent to protected areas.
A key deliverable of the plan is the delivery of a targeted round of citizen science grants that enable visitors and the community to contribute to conservation and threatened species recovery.
What is a protected area?
For the purposes of this grant, protected areas include public protected areas such as national parks, conservation parks, resources reserves, special wildlife reserves, coordinated conservation areas, marine parks, marine national parks and declared fish habitats, as well as private protected areas such as nature refuges.
If my project is in a private protected area (such as a nature refuge) do I need to seek permission from the landowner?
Yes, any activities on a private protected area will need approval from the landholder. You will need to submit evidence of ‘in-principle agreement’ for your project with your grant application form.
Will I need a permit to conduct a citizen science project within a protected area as part of the targeted ecotourism citizen science grant round?
Yes, you may need a permit, depending on the type of data you are collecting. Prior to submitting the application, applicants must contact email@example.com to seek an ‘in-principle agreement’, this evidence must be submitted with your application form.
Grant funding can be used to cover permit costs (if required).
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. The plan must include a timeline for communication and identify ways to measure the effectiveness of communication.
The recipient 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.
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, education, citizen science and/or communication backgrounds.
The number of grants awarded will depend on the number and quality of applications received.
Projects that engage a wide group of stakeholders and show a self-sustaining component will be looked upon favourably. Applicants who have not received previous funding in the 2023 round, will be highly regarded by the assessors.
How to apply
How do I apply for an Engaging Science Grant?
Applications must be submitted via the online SmartyGrants portal.
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.
Where a service provider works with multiple applicants e.g. more than one school to submit an application for the same project, all will be assessed however only one application may be funded per round.
How can I check the status of my application?
Applicants will be notified in writing or via email about the outcome of their application.
When will I be notified of my application outcome?
Applicants will be notified within approximately three months after the close of the funding round in which the application was submitted.
It is expected that recipients will be notified by early 2024, so plan for projects to commence in 2024.
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?
Funding of up to $20,000 per project for up to 12 months.
Must an applicant apply for a grant of $20,000?
No, funding of up to $20,000 is available for each 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 and assessment process, it is expected that funding will become available in early 2024. 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 staff costs, specialist contractors, event costs, marketing, media, travel, permits and other relevant costs directly attributable to the delivery of the project. The grant funds can be used for a new project or to enhance an existing project.
The grant funds cannot be used for operational overhead expenses of the recipient organisation including insurance, to generate profit, or to pay for an organisation’s business activities such as marketing and promotion of products or services that they sell. Promotion of the project for the purposes of recruiting event attendees, citizen scientists and so on to the project however is allowable.
Equipment or technology costs must be no more than 50% of the total funding granted.
In-house project design expenses must be no more than 20% of the total funding granted.
Consulting costs must be no more than 20% of the total funding granted.
Can I use the Engaging 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 Engaging Science Grants funding can be used for staff costs, for example direct salary costs for employees delivering the science engagement 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:
- 70% at start of the project
- 30% on project completion.
The initial 70% will be paid after the Funding Agreement is signed by the department and after the department has received a valid tax invoice from the recipient. To claim the final 30%, you will be required to submit the following:
- a short report that includes project evaluation outcomes
- evidence of expenditure you wish to claim i.e. receipts or invoices (bank statements will not be accepted)
- a valid tax invoice.
Note: Please ensure your organisation will support commitment of expenditure prior to reimbursement of the final 30% payment (all expenses must be claimed within the final report).
An online template of the short report format will be provided to the funding recipients.
What evidence is required to receive funding?
A signed Funding Agreement accompanied by a valid tax invoice must be submitted by the recipient to the department to receive the first payment.
The final payment will require recipients to submit a short report with project evaluation outcomes, evidence of expenditure you wish to claim i.e. receipts or tax invoices (bank statements will not be accepted), and a valid tax invoice.
It is expected that you will spend all (or almost all) of the funding you have requested, any amounts not used, or without receipts will not be reimbursed at the final acquittal stage.
What is a valid tax invoice?
A valid tax invoice as defined by the Australian Taxation Office.
Are grant payments subject to GST?
All recipients must have an ABN but do not necessarily have to be registered for GST. The grant amount (up to $20,000) excludes GST. Applicants registered for GST will not be provided with funding to account for costs directly associated with GST and are required to provide the GST exclusive amount in their budget. Recipients registered for GST can claim the GST component for any expenditure that they incur back from the Australian Tax Office. Where an applicant is not registered for GST, the budget may include the GST as a cost component of the grant.
For advice on GST, please seek assistance from the Australian Tax Office. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the grants program office on (07) 3330 6360.
Is additional Engaging Science Grant funding available if the project costs exceed the approved funding?
No. The onus is on the recipient and/or partners or sponsors if any costs exceed the approved funding.
Can I apply for funding support for a project that has already commenced prior to this application?
Yes, if certain circumstances are met. Existing projects are eligible for funding if the application is for a clear project enhancement, such as but not limited to developing new teacher resources, reaching new regional areas or communities of interest, improving citizen science data collection or further technology upgrades.
When should I begin and finish the project?
The project will technically commence on the date the department signs the Funding Agreement. The project must be completed in up to 12 months from the project start date, which will be reflected in the Funding Agreement.
It is expected that recipients will be notified by early 2024 and be ready to begin their project soon after this.
What sorts of citizen science projects could fall into the targeted protected areas ecotourism citizen science area?
The targeted grant round is seeking projects that involve engaging with visitors to conduct research projects that contribute to conservation and threatened species recovery on the protected area estate. Some examples could be:
- mapping or monitoring flora and fauna
- testing water quality
- modelling of erosion
- soil sampling or observing other changes to the environment
- behaviour or attitudinal research of visitors.
How often will progress reports be required?
There are no official progress reports required, however the department may contact recipients during the project to ask how the project is going, and a response will be required to ensure the deliverables are on track.
A final short report will be required at the end of the project, a template will be provided.
Terms and Conditions and Funding Agreement
What are the terms and conditions of the grant?
The terms and conditions forms part of the Funding Agreement and must be read, understood and accepted prior to submitting the application.
Are the terms and conditions negotiable?
No, the recipient 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’s 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 recipients.
What is a Funding Agreement?
The Funding Agreement is the legally binding document that outlines the conditions of the Engaging Science Grants, including the payment schedule and reporting requirements. The Funding Agreement is comprised of the Engaging Science Grants terms and conditions, the Engaging Science Grants application and any supporting information, and the Engaging Science Grants guidelines. Read the Engaging Science Grants guidelines and terms and conditions prior to submitting the application.