BrightSpark Foundation and the Western Australian Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) Fund are together launching the inaugural 2023 round of the WA Early-Career Child Health Researcher (ECCHR) Fellowships Program to provide research support to keep more WA based PhD graduates involved in WA based child health research.
We are excited to be partnering with the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund to be awarding a series of Fellowships to support early-career child health researchers. These Fellowships provide a more defined career pathway to other more secure longer term child health research funding which we expect will encourage more WA researchers to stay involved with child health research
This Program is targeted towards early-career researchers who are WA based PhD students (including close to completion of PhD and recent post PhD graduates) who can demonstrate they are committed to child health research but may not yet be undertaking a research project.
The Program is designed to assist early-career researchers to become better qualified, experienced, and positioned for seeking longer term child health research funding through avenues like the NHMRC’s Investigator Grants (Emerging Leadership) scheme.
BrightSpark will administer the review and award process. A ranking system will be used for the assessment of eligible applications. Unlike more traditional assessment processes, the assessment process will be weighted towards the demonstrated commitment, capacity and skill set of the individual to undertake research and the track record of their research supervisor and host research entity.
BrightSpark Foundation as Program Manager will award a number of three-year Fellowships commencing 1 January 2024. The Fellowships consist of a funding package that can contribute towards both salary and direct research costs (DRCs) up to the value of $120,000 per annum.
Applications now open
The Application Form can be downloaded at the bottom of this page
Complete this form to register for the online webinar
Review and assessment
Successful and unsuccessful applicants notified
Awardees and Research Entities execute Agreement
Public announcement of ECCHR Fellowships awarded
Q: Am I ineligible to apply as I am currently in a full-time research position?
A: The Fellowship is targeted towards applicants that do not have secure or long term research funding and are at risk of leaving the sector if they do not receive research funding support. Applicants are eligible if they are working full-time this year on a research project they do not lead and want to apply to develop their own project in the area of child health research. Applicants are eligible if they are working full-time this year on a research project they do not lead and want to apply to develop their own project in the area of child health research.
I am currently contracted full-time until mid-2024 on someone else’s research project: eligible.
I am currently working on my own research project more than 0.5FTE this year: ineligible.
Since completing my PhD in a health science related area I haven’t worked in child health research: eligible.
Q: What type of grants are independent grants?
A: Independent grants are defined as those awarded by a funding source that is external to your organisation i.e. NHMRC and MRFF, which is competitively awarded via a peer review process and is either an Australian competitive grant (Category 1) or other government grant (Category 2). Funding sources such as tenders, non-research funding and philanthropic funding are not included as independent funding unless they funded a research project led by the applicant since completing their PhD.
Q: Can direct research costs be used to support casual positions, for example for a research nurse or research assistant for specific parts of the project?
A: Expenditure of direct research costs on the salary of a casual position is allowable but must be detailed in section B.3 of the application form.
Q: What is the intended child health research minimum time commitment of the Fellow?
A: The expectation is that your job description and responsibilities assigned to you by your Research Entity will be such that priority will be given to your Fellowship research. We recognise however that you may be called upon by your Research Entity to join in and assist with other duties, such as teaching or mentoring (Other Duties).
Even where in that year your Other Duties restrict you from spending 100% FTE research time on your Project, the salary component for a particular year is payable. But please note the requirement is that in each year at least 50% FTE research time must be spent by you on your Project (Minimum Time Commitment).
If however during the Fellowship, in addition to spending research time on your Project, you wish to and/or do become involved in a paid role with another research project (in or outside of your Research Entity) at any level that is between 50% (the Minimum Time Commitment) and 100% FTE research time, you must advise BrightSpark of this as soon as this occurs or you become aware, as this will require an adjustment to the salary component of the Fellowship.
On no account will all or any pro rata proportion of the Fellowship be payable overall or in a particular year where you are in receipt of more than 0.5 FTE paid research time (including paid research time which is a component of an academic/ clinical/administrative/ part-time role) on another research project (in or outside of your Research Entity)- refer Sect 3(a) of Guidelines & Conditions.
Q: What will be the salary component of the Fellowship if I chose not to work 1.0FTE?
A: The level of Fellowship financial support is designed as a 1.0 FTE funding package contribution, but the full salary component for a particular year is still payable even where you have chosen not to work 1.0 FTE in that year providing that at least 50% FTE research time is spent by you on your Project (Minimum Time Commitment).
Also, if in that year you have become involved in a paid role with another research project ( in or outside of your Research Entity) requiring you to spend at any level paid research time that is between 50% ( the Minimum Time Commitment) and 100% FTE research time then you must advise BrightSpark of this as soon as this occurs ,or you become aware, as this will require an adjustment to the salary component of the Fellowship.
Obviously, under the employment rules of your Research Entity, where you have chosen not to work 1.0 FTE there may be adjustments to matters like leave entitlements against which the salary component may be applied.
Q: My publication list takes up a lot of the space in the CV’s two-page limit, what can I do?
A: Publications may be listed in a short bibliographic style that still enables the reviewers to look up the publication while keeping within the page limit.
Q: How many Fellowships will be awarded?
A: Up to four Fellowships will be awarded this round, one Fellowship may be awarded the top ranked fundable application in the area of Aboriginal child health research.
Q: What is a Research Entity?
A: The Research Entity must:
- have an active Australian Business Number (ABN)
- have a physical and operational presence in WA
- be a WA university, WA research institution, WA public health service provider or a WA public-private partnership provider; and
- co–partner with the Program Sponsors by agreeing to contribute at least a minimum gap share7 of the overall total Fellowship funding package amounts.
Q: Can Research Supervisors support more than one Fellow?
A: No, the primary Research Supervisor nominated in the application form can only be listed as the primary Research Supervisor in one application per round. Applicants can nominate additional research supervisors in the application form, which do not count towards the limit of one primary Research Supervisor per applicant per round.
Q: To be eligible to apply, is 5 year total research experience calculated at the time of application or on commencing the Fellowship?
A: The 5 year limit is to be calculated at the time of application.