AAL Funding

How is AAL funded? 

AAL receives funding from the Australian Government via the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). This is primarily driven by a five year funding cycle (see graphic to the right), with one-off opportunities for funding also awarded to specific projects at any time during this time.

NCRIS Five Year Funding Cycle

  • Roadmap every five years
  • One or two Investment Plans per Roadmap
  • One or two Funding Allocations per Roadmap

How does AAL distribute these funds?

Once AAL has received funding from NCRIS, this is directed toward a variety of projects/facilities as guided by the AAL Board of Directors and its Advisory Committees. These bodies must, in turn, assess all current and future investments based on how they align with the criteria set out by the ​Decadal plan for Australian astronomy (2016-2025). Please see our latest Annual Report to see the types of projects we are currently funding.

AAL is proactive in looking for opportunities that fit in with the goals of the Decadal Plan and welcomes submissions or project funding proposals from members of the Australian astronomy community that comply with the criteria listed below (see NCRIS Eligibility Criteria). Astronomers are able to draw AAL’s attention to possible new funding opportunities via the following three options:

  • Through their local AAL member representative (see here for a full list)
  • Through an AAL committee member (see here for a full list of AAL’s committees)
  • Through an AAL Staff member (see here for contact details)
NCRIS Eligibility Criteria

In addition to the NCRIS criteria* specified by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, AAL considers the following when deciding the allocation of NCRIS funding:

Does the investment opportunity address a research infrastructure recommendation of the Decadal Plan? 

Yes – Priority Recommendation

AAL will proactively seek significant funding to support the project, with due consideration of any other major funding allocations managed by other organisations. 

Yes – Tier 2 Recommendation

AAL will consider supporting the project based on the following assessment criteria: 

  • The number of institutions supported by the infrastructure. 
  • The number of (named) active users. 
  • The unique benefit(s) from AAL involvement. 
  • The risks associated with the facility. 
  • Access arrangements for the wider community. 
  • The Australian outputs – publications, industry collaborations and contracts and other impacts of the facility, expected due to AAL support. 
  • The strategic importance to Australian astronomy.
  • Identification of a pathway (for new projects), or progress along a pathway (for existing projects), to a strategic international partnership involving wide representation across the Australian astronomy community.
  • Identification of a pathway (for new projects) or progress along a pathway (for existing projects) to future sustainable funding that moves beyond small “seed funding” awards from AAL.
  • The level of university-level cash matching is to be included in the plan for projects at a scale where university-level funding is appropriate.
  • Demonstration that the level of funding requested, and the identified role for AAL, aligns with AAL’s vision and mission.

No

AAL will not engage with the project.

The AAL Board has determined that AAL should report annually on the fraction of its funding awarded to mid-level or tier two projects, as per the Decadal Plan goal to aim to direct 10% of funding to facilities at this level.

*NCRIS assessment criteria can be viewed on page 12 of the document – National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy 2021 Guidelines – available for download from the link supplied here and above.