China Studies Seed-funding Research Grant Scheme

The China Studies Research Centre was established to foster China-related research across both Colleges, to strengthen research links with China, and to promote La Trobe’s research reputation and expertise.

The China Studies Seed-funding Research Grant Scheme supports these goals by providing competitive seed-funding grants for projects that will grow the calibre and quantum of China-related research, deliver high quality research outputs, and enhance the University’s capacity to win competitive research funding.

Applications for the second round of the 2020 China Studies Seed-funding Research Grant Scheme are now closed.

Priority will be given to applications that demonstrate clearly how the  funding will be used to leverage external grants.

**Due to travel restrictions currently in place, in this round funds cannot be used for domestic or international travel.**

Selection criteria

The research project must clearly meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. examine some aspect of the social, political, cultural, scientific, linguistic, legal, historical or pre-historical dimensions of China (Greater China) and its people;
  2. involve close collaboration with a partner or partners based in a Chinese (Greater China) institution; or
  3. require China-based (Greater China) fieldwork or data collection.

General guidelines

Multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research is strongly encouraged.

Applicants are encouraged to include investigators from more than one College/School/Department.

The Scheme welcomes ECRs to apply and urges established researchers to include ECRs on their research team. A proportion of funds will be allocated to build the capacity of ECRs.

Blue-sky research must demonstrate how the research will develop a new innovative research area, a new area of funding or new strategic collaboration.

The grant can be used for:

  • travel for fieldwork or research collaboration
  • tutorial and/or marking buy-out (subject to approval of head of department)
  • research assistance
  • supporting La Trobe-led and hosted gatherings of national and/or international experts/partners as part of a clearly articulated strategy to initiate a collaborative external funding bid.

The grant cannot be used to fund:

  • equipment
  • computers/laptops
  • translation services
  • travel or registration fees for conferences
  • preparation of teaching materials
  • course delivery or training programs

The maximum amount for successful grants is $10,000 each. A strong emphasis, however, will be placed on value for money in order to distribute funds as widely as is reasonable.

The magnitude of funding will reflect the likely return on investment that is demonstrated in the proposal.

Funds must be spent by 31 December 2020.

Eligibility to apply

  • La Trobe University staff with a continuing or fixed-term teaching and research/or research-only appointment of greater than two years.
  • Honorary staff (including clinical, adjunct, emeritus and honorary appointments) as Lead CI or Other CI (i.e. not Lead CI) if the proposal includes collaboration with a researcher or researchers from La Trobe University that satisfy the first criteria. Collaborators must be listed as ‘Other CI’.
  • Researchers with adjunct appointment at La Trobe University or from other universities may be named as other CI (i.e. not Lead CI) in the application but they will not receive any funds.
  • Collaboration with other universities and organisations is encouraged, but funding must remain within La Trobe University.
  • Applicants may be named as Lead CI on no more than one application per funding round.
  • Applicants may be named on no more than two applications per funding round.

Conditions of award

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • indicate how this grant will contribute to a subsequent external grant application, and also indicate which external funding bodies.
  • be accountable for the progress of the Research Project
  • provide a written progress report to the Centre Director on a six monthly basis
  • present the project outcomes in the Centre Seminar Series when requested
  • account for the funds expended to support the activities of the Research Project
  • acknowledge the funding received from the Centre in all publications
  • provide short reports for the purposes of promoting the Centre’s research activities.

Ranking Criteria

  • Research project innovation and significance, and potential for impact*: 40%
  • Team’s research record, relative to opportunity: 25%
  • Likely return on investment: 35%

Applications will be ranked by a grants panel, with membership drawn from both from within La Trobe and externally.


Potential Research Impact examples

There is a range of potential research impacts, and one set of research may result in a range of impacts. No type of impact is ‘preferable’ over another, and the examples below are illustrative, not exhaustive.

Example sector: Defence

  • Technologies or products to be used in defence-related industries
  • Software or algorithms to be used in defence-related or security industries
  • Development of technical standards
  • Policy, strategy or history analysis that can influence policy and enhances diplomatic relationships or is employed as part of national strategy
  • Public health outcomes for communities that can improve national or global security

Example sector: Economic Development

  • Improvement of an existing business through introduction of new products/services/processes/standards
  • Creation/growth of jobs or an industry sector
  • Improved business performance measures associated with new products/services/processes/standards
  • Potential for performance to be improved, or new/changed technologies adopted, through highly skilled people taken up roles that draw on their research, or through provision of consultancy or training that draws on research.

Example sector: Health

  • Introduction of policies which with potential to have a positive impact on economic growth or incentivising productivity
  • Reduction of costs of treatment or healthcare as a result of evidence-based changes in practice
  • Gains in productivity as a result of evidence-based changes in practice
  • Improved service delivery

Example sector: Society, culture and creativity

  • Impacts where the beneficiaries are individuals, groups, organisations or communities whose knowledge or behaviours are influenced:
  • Beneficial changes to social policy or practice influenced by research
  • Museum and gallery exhibitions
  • Creation of cultural artefacts
  • Shaping or informing public or political debate
  • Stimulus to tourism or contribution to the quality of the tourist experience
  • Contribution to the process of commemoration, memorialisation and reconciliation
  • Public awareness and engagement

Example sector: Environment

  • Developing new methods, models, monitoring or techniques with potential to lead to changes or benefits
  • Policy debate on the environment, environmental policy decisions or planning decisions have been informed or changed by research evidence
  • Improvements to the environment through introduction of a new product, process or service
  • Improvement of management or conservation of natural resources

Successful applicants from previous years

Application document

Please submit the following information in one document to

  • Name, Staff ID, Affiliation and Contact Details of the Lead Chief Investigator and Additional CI/CIs
  • Research Project Title
  • Research Project Summary
  • Research Project Details (including expected outcomes and expected impact; explanation of how the seed-grant will contribute to a subsequent external grant application; name of anticipated external funding body; an indication of whether the project has been previously funded or is currently under assessment by another funding source, such as a RFA).
  • Research Project Budget Justification
  • Expenditure Details
  • Ethics Approval (If ethics approval has been granted, please attach approval letter)
  • Prospective Industry Partner(s) (If the partnership has been established provide name of industry partner(s) and the nature of partnership that exist)
  • Chief Investigator(s) Research Track Record