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For me to apply for an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA grant in the next round, I will need to include an application for an Eligibility Exemption. The last round DECRA rules are below, and presumably next year's rules will be the same but +1 to each year.

D7.4.4 The ARC may grant an Eligibility Exemption for the DECRA Candidate who has been awarded a PhD on or after 1 March 2006, together with periods of significant career interruption (between the PhD award date and the closing time of submission of Proposals) which if taken into account would be commensurate with a PhD being awarded on or after 1 March 2010. Career interruptions of less than one month will not be considered. The following types of interruption will be considered:

  1. carer's responsibility;
  2. disruption due to international relocation for post-doctoral studies or other research employment not exceeding three months per international relocation;
  3. illness;
  4. maternity or parental leave;
  5. unemployment and/or
  6. non-research employment not concurrent with research employment.

I was unemployed for 2014 for personal reasons I'd prefer not to go into on a grant application. This means I will be eligible if any only if the eligibility exception is accepted. I'm wondering if just asserting unemployment is acceptable, or do I somehow need to demonstrate it in some way?

Question: How would I demonstrate unemployment for an ARC DECRA eligibility exemption? Do I need to explain my personal reasons for being unemployed?

If possible, I'd like to hear from others who have applied for this particular exemption.

(And, if you happen to know the answer to a related question: Do I have to write the whole DECRA grant application before knowing whether or not I'm even eligible?)

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To demonstrate unemployment for an ARC DECRA eligibility exemption you must provide a justification statement.

"Justification Statement: In no more than 3000 characters, please provide justification outlining the special circumstances in support of the Eligibility Exemption Request being submitted." - Eligibility Exemption Request: Instructions to Applicants (491 KB PDF), pg 2.

This justification does not require details of why you were unemployed. It requires you to state that you were unemployed, that you were not able to undertake research during that period, and delineate how long that period of unemployment lasted.

That is, the ARC wants to know that you were unable to undertake research for the required time. It doesn't need to make a value judgement about why you were unemployed. You do not need to explain your personal reasons for being unemployed.

In answer to your second question: No, you do not have to write the whole DECRA grant application before knowing whether you are eligible or not. As the ARC Important Dates page says, eligibility exemption requests will open and close in January 2016. You will have an answer shortly after that, about two months before the ARC DECRA closing date on 22 March 2016.

However, as someone who helps applicants develop their applications, I would always advise an applicant to draft their application well before January. Leaving it to the last two months doesn't provide much time to write, review and revise your application.

  • Great. Thanks for your help. That doesn't seem too difficult. – Rebecca J. Stones Nov 10 '15 at 15:03

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