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Module 3: Conducting Research Responsibly - Protecting Yourself, Your Research, and Your University

2.1 Expectations of funding bodies

Funding agencies select, and award funds to, grant-holders and their projects through a competitive peer-reviewed evaluation process. There is an expectation that grant-holders will comply with research-related institutional policies set in place to protect human research participants, animals, and the environment. With specific regard to the work for which the funds have been allocated, funding bodies will expect the grant-holder, most often the first-named investigator, to be responsible for carrying out the project in a timely and financially accountable manner.

Funders provide support for different reasons, which may affect the way in which research findings are disseminated and disclosed. Government funding through the ARC or NHMRC usually places no restrictions on dissemination of findings and carries the expectation that the use of public funds will lead to freely available findings, published or disseminated in a way that increases public good. Private companies often seek to retain the right to the commercial use of the research data flowing from a funding initiative, while philanthropic organisations, depending on their interests, may seek to retain or give away ownership rights. All researchers on funded work, but particularly the first-named chief investigator, should be aware of the obligations to the funder before collecting data. A full discussion of key issues to be aware of concerning IP are covered in Module 4: Intellectual Property and Commercialisation.

In accepting funding, you, as a named investigator, should be aware of:

  • any caveats on the right to publish and share data
  • what your reporting requirements are, including milestone deliverables
  • what you can/cannot spend your grant money on.
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