Melbourne Social Equity Institute Seed Funding 2022

Melbourne Social Equity Institute invests in interdisciplinary and co-productive research that addresses social equity issues through seed funding and co-funding.

The Institute is currently inviting proposals for its 2022 Seed Funding Round with grants of between $25,000 and $40,000 on offer.

Projects must be completed by the end of December 2023, with final reports due within six months of project completion.

Critical dates

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Expressions of Interest Open

Thursday 23 June 2022
10.30am – 12.00pm

Seed Funding Information Workshop
In-person at the Parkville Campus

Tuesday 28 June 2022
1.00pm – 2.30pm

Seed Funding Information Workshop
Online via Zoom
Video Available

Monday 22 August 2022
12.00pm

Expressions of Interest Close

Monday 19 September 2022

Teams Notified

Teams will be advised of the outcome of their expression of interest in the week commencing 19 September.

Successful applicants will be invited to complete the full application and attend an interview.

Please note: each application must nominate a Coordinating Investigator. The Coordinating Investigator must hold a salaried academic appointment at the University of Melbourne of at least 0.5 EFT for the duration of the project (or until 31 December 2023). Those holding other academic appointments at the University of Melbourne are encouraged to apply in other research roles as part of interdisciplinary teams (see Investigator eligibility).

Funding guidelines

Successful projects will be:

    • Community-engaged and/or coproductive, with a high level of community decision-making and/or cross-sectoral participation in the purpose, design, conduct and use of research. Ideally, successful projects will be co-produced with people with lived experience of social challenges and the community organisations that support them.
    • Interdisciplinary, with project design and implementation involving researchers from different disciplines and faculties.
    • Innovative, with an emphasis on creative ways of advancing knowledge and practice. Evaluations of programs or services will not be funded.
    • Impactful research that has the potential to: make a positive difference to the lives of people and communities who experience inequities; improve public policy, advance public debates or shift social norms that affect social equity; or support innovations by and for people and communities most affected by social inequities. Successful projects will present effective dissemination and engagement strategies consistent with their expected impacts.

This scheme encourages early career researchers (ECRs) to lead or be participants in the investigating team. ECRs are those who have been awarded a PhD within the last 5 years (on or after 17 October 2017) and before submission of this application. However, applicants who have had career interruptions or who have worked in an academic research organisation for less than 5 years FTE and received their PhD before 17 October 2017 may still be considered to be early career researchers. If unsure, please use this calculator to determine your status.

Projects must be feasible within current and reasonably anticipated constraints relating to the local and broader COVID-19 context. Guidance on managing research activity during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the COVID-19 Response Website (Staff Access Only).

Research priority areas

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute has recently refreshed its research priorities. All of our priorities are informed by a commitment to community-engaged and coproductive research. Research proposals that align with one or more of the research priorities will be rated highly.

  • Gender Equity
  • Migration and Mobility
  • Health Equity
  • Inclusive and Distributive Economies
  • Digital Access and Equity

See research priority areas

The Institute hosts a Community Fellows Program which brings members of community organisations into the University to develop research skills while assisting scholars to understand the context in which their research may be used.  Where appropriate, researchers who would like to collaborate with a community organisation through this funding call may want to incorporate a Fellowship application within their project design. Please discuss your ideas with Charlene Edwards.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for funding, projects must:

  • Be led by an eligible Coordinating Investigator (see Investigator eligibility below)
  • Be interdisciplinary and involve researchers from at least two University of Melbourne (UoM) faculties in research design and implementation
  • Demonstrate clear alignment with Melbourne Social Equity Institute’s commitment to community-engaged and coproductive research
  • Present programs of work that are feasible within the budget parameters ($25,000 - $40,000) and timeframe (project execution within one year of funding) of the grant program.

Projects that include ECRs will be considered more favourably than those that do not.

PhD projects, Program evaluations, clinical research, public engagement (not linked to research) and teaching and learning / work-integrated learning activities are not eligible for funding.

Applications that request funds to supplement or extend another University grant, external grant or research contract will generally be excluded from consideration. However, projects that include confirmed co-funding from partner organisations are welcomed*.

* Cash contributions are not a requirement of project partnerships.

Investigator eligibility

Each application must nominate a Coordinating Investigator. The Coordinating Investigator must hold a salaried academic appointment at UoM of at least 0.5 EFT for the duration of the project (or until 31 December 2023). If the Coordinating Investigator leaves the employment of the University, this responsibility will be transferred to another UoM-employed member of the team.

PhD candidates are not eligible to apply for seed funding as Coordinating Investigators. However, PhD candidates are able to be involved in applications as co-investigators or research assistants remunerated from the grant budget.

Academic staff on casual or sessional appointments at UoM may be separately contracted as paid researchers from the grant and listed as co-investigators or research assistants.

There are no restrictions on other members of the proposed project team, including academics from other institutions, community-based researchers and Community Fellows, and other external partners. However, external academics and industry partners in paid research roles are expected to contribute their time in-kind.

It will be assumed that in submitting an application, all project team members have consulted appropriately with their supervisors and have the time and basic infrastructure resources to pursue the project concerned within the context of existing workload and responsibilities.

Information workshops

In June, Melbourne Social Equity Institute ran two workshops for University of Melbourne researchers who wanted to learn more about seed funding, hear about previously funded projects and meet other researchers who are interested in social equity.

The recording of the online workshop, held on 28 June, is below.



Application process

It is highly recommended that you discuss your project proposal with either Professor Jo Barraket (Director) or Charlene Edwards (Executive Officer) in the first instance.

The application process has two stages. In the first stage proposing teams to complete the Expression of Interest form via SmartyGrants outlining the aims and anticipated outcomes of their project. Researchers are encouraged to register to use the SmartyGrants system in good time prior to starting their EOI.

The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 12pm on Monday 22 August.

Teams will be advised of the outcome of their expression of interest in the week commencing 19 September.

If the team’s Expression of Interest is shortlisted, they will be invited to submit a full application which will be due on Monday 17 October.

Shortlisted applications will be invited to give a presentation to the selection committee during the week commencing Monday 31 October. The selection committee will then decide how to allocate the funding.


Access the SmartyGrants Expression of Interest Form

Expressions of Interest close at 12pm on Monday 22 August 2022.

Terms and conditions

  • Funding Rules

    Projects should be costed in line with University policy and are subject to final approval by the Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute. Funds may be used for:

    • Employing Research Assistants, Research Fellows and co-investigators (see investigator eligibility above);
    • Employing community-based researchers or providing buy-out for those working in community organisations (for example, through the Community Fellows Program). Please refer to the rates suggested in the Institute's Guidelines for Equitable and Fair Remuneration for Community Research Participants;
    • Employing professional staff to provide development, administrative or project management support;
    • Fieldwork and data processing costs, including travel, accommodation and daily expenses and transcription fees (noting, fieldwork approaches should take into consideration the ongoing impacts of COVID-19)
    • Modest and appropriate teaching or marking relief for the Coordinating Investigator and other Investigators on the team (specific justification for this item is required);
    • Research translation and public dissemination costs, such as graphic design or webinar and seminar hosting; translation, interpretation and accessibility costs that may be required to support the participation of team members or research participants;
    • Modest equipment (specific justification for this item is required); or
    • Consultant costs for workshop preparation, facilitation and/or post-workshop follow-up.
    • Funds may NOT be used for salary top-ups to existing UoM staff for additional workload.
    • Travel for academic conferences may be considered for project team members who do not have access to alternative sources of funding for these activities (e.g. community researchers/ partners).
  • Payment Schedule

    The grant will be paid in two tranches, linked to key deliverables.

    The payment schedule will be agreed between the Coordinating Investigator and the Melbourne Social Equity Institute prior to the commencement of the project.

  • Assessment Criteria

    Project and investigator eligibiity (see above) is a threshold requirement

    Suitability of the project team (30%)

    • Does the proposal involve an interdisciplinary team with appropriate and complementary expertise for the proposed project?

    Project Quality (40%)

    • Does the proposed research persuasively address an area of social inequity or disadvantage?
    • Does the proposed research align to one or more of the research priority areas?
    • Does the project demonstrate innovation in at least one of the following areas: community-engaged and coproductive methodology and design; area of focus; conceptual approach and analysis; potential impact and engagement?
    • Is the project likely to make contributions to knowledge that yield high quality publications by the research team?

    Outcomes and impact (20%)

    • Is the proposal likely to generate new research activities and partnerships? What are the intended short- and long-term impacts of the project?
    • Is the project likely to generate or contribute to improvements in social equity experiences, policies or practices?
    • Does the project topic and expected outcomes show potential for future funding by granting bodies?

    Feasibility (10%)

    • Is the project methodology well-aligned with the research questions and aims?
    • Is the proposed project budget and timeline aligned with the proposed methodology and expected outcomes?
  • Conditions of Grant
    • Grant Offers must be accepted in writing by the Coordinating Investigator and their Head of Department/School.
    • Successful applicants must provide appropriate acknowledgement of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute’s support when communicating project outcomes.

    The Coordinating Investigator:

    • Will be the contact person for all administrative matters to do with the project and is responsible for internal reporting requirements.
    • Must ensure that the research is conducted in accordance with University policy, including compliance with the Code of Conduct for Research and policies on human research ethics, animal experimentation ethics, requirements of the Office of Gene Technology Regulator, health and safety and intellectual property.  No project may proceed unless the appropriate ethical or other required clearances have been obtained.
    • Must comply with any instructions or conditions in the Offer of Grant relating to approved items of expenditure.  This includes entering into a Collaboration Agreement with external parties involved in the project.
    • Will arrange to meet with a member(s) of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute team for a project kick-off meeting, a mid-term review and an end-of-project review. Other members of the team who wish to attend are most welcome.
    • Is responsible for ensuring that the expenditure of the grant is broadly in accord with the budget presented in the application and is consistent at all times with the nature and aims of the specific project approved and the objectives of the Scheme.
    • Will be required to provide reports on the progress, outcomes and impacts of the project at the times and in the form requested by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute directorate, with a formal final report required on the outcomes of the project within six months of the project’s completion. Summaries of projects funded and project final reports may be published by the Institute.

    The project must be completed by December 2023.

    The research team will allow the Melbourne Social Equity Institute to use project information for promotional purposes.

    To discuss further, please contact Professor Jo Barraket Jo.Barraket@unimelb.edu.au and Charlene Edwards Charlene.Edwards@unimelb.edu.au.