Grant Applications

Applications for grants to be awarded in 2018 open on 1 April 2018 and will close on 30 April 2018. 

Application Guidelines

The AOA Research Foundation Fund performs an important role in providing support for short-term studies (in general up to two years) and initiating long-term studies carried out by members of the AOA. The fund is also an important backup source of funding for established orthopaedic research groups who receive their major financial support from other funding organisations. The Fund does not provide long-term support for projects or 'top-up' funding for ongoing studies.

Research proposals must be a clearly identifiable segment of work, even though it may be part of a much broader-based research initiative. All grant applications will be treated confidentially and will only be viewed by assessors or interview committees.

Early Researcher Grants

This year the AOA Research Foundation is introducing a new grants scheme entitled ‘Early Researcher Grants’ to encourage younger surgeons to engage in orthopaedic research activities.

The grant will be restricted to registrar affiliates and associates or fellows who have been awarded the FRACS fellowship no more than three years prior.

These grants are intended to be ‘seed’ funding and will be restricted to approximately $5,000–$10,000 per grant (excluding GST). They will judged on a competitive basis, with the applications judged best being approved for funding.

Scope of Research

Research projects may cover a broad range of clinical and laboratory investigations only if relevant to the field of orthopaedics.

Special consideration will be given to applications which propose to open up new areas of research as well as to projects which cover areas that would not be expected to attract funds from other funding organisations. For the purpose of encouraging clinical research (defined below), this will be considered separately for funding from laboratory research. The best application for clinical research will be funded irrespective of its overall ranking. Clinical research may be funded over two years on application to the AOA Foundation Board.

Clinical Research

Clinical research is a study in human volunteers to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications, biologics, diagnostics or medical devices by monitoring their effects on large groups of people.

Volunteers are recruited having obtained written informed consent to take part in the study. Subjects are generally divided into two or more groups, including a control group that does not receive the experimental treatment, receives a placebo (inactive substance) instead, or receives a tried-and-true therapy/diagnostic for comparison purposes.

There are different kinds of clinical trials, including those to study:

  • prevention options

  • new treatments or new ways to use existing treatments

  • new screening and diagnostic techniques

  • options for improving the quality of life for people who have serious medical conditions.

Clinical trials are conducted according to a plan called a protocol. The protocol describes what types of patients may enter the study, schedules of tests and procedures, drugs, dosages, and length of study, as well as the outcomes that will be measured. Each person participating in the study must agree to the rules set out by the protocol.

Eligibility

The Chief investigator must be a registrar affiliate, associate or fellow of the AOA. One of the principal investigators must be an affiliate, associate or fellow of the AOA.

The first principal investigator will be deemed to be the Research Project Coordinator (RPC), who is responsible for communication between the AOA Research Foundation, the research institution, and the direction of the research. The RPC is responsible for the timely submission of the application, and the annual audit forms and financial statements to the AOA Research Foundation. The RPC is responsible for the subsequent presentation of the results of the research at the AOA Annual Scientific Meeting within three years of receiving the grant.

Grant applications are open to investigators at academic/university settings and others in the public and private sectors.

All applications will be judged on a competitive basis, without regard to the academic rank or title of the investigator. The researchers involved in patient care must be certified to practise their profession at their institution and must obtain institutional ethical approval.

New Investigators

New Investigators will not be disadvantaged under this system, particularly as it relates to track records. New Investigators will receive a score for track record, assessed as an average score from the top current successful experienced investigators. New investigators will need to supply a curriculum vitae with their application and not have been principal investigators previously. This is intended to encourage our new and younger colleagues to apply for AOA Research Foundation grants.
 

Use of Research Foundation Funds

In general, funds can be allocated for a part-time salary of a research assistant but not for salaried employees of research institutions, as well as for consumable items and inexpensive items of equipment. Expensive pieces of equipment (greater than $5000) cannot be funded unless it is shown they will be used by an orthopaedic research group over a long period. At least two quotes for the purchase of such items must accompany the grant application. In general, funds are not available for full-time secretarial assistance or personal computers, or items considered standard equipment for any research institution. Funds are not available for travel expenses.
 

Support from Other Sources

An applicant may not apply for, use or accept Foundation funds for a research project or part of a project already supported by the Foundation or supported by funds from another public or private source. Accordingly, full disclosure of all available and pending funds for research support must be made in the grant application. If funds from other sources become available to the applicant during the review or tenure of a Foundation research grant, the RPC must inform the Foundation in writing. The award will terminate and the unexpended balance will be returned to the AOA Research Fund.
 

Human and/or Animal Subjects/Tissues

When human subjects or tissues are to be used in a research project, it is the responsibility of the grant recipient and their institution to ensure that the institution has a complete copy of the research protocol approved by the institution's Human Subject Review Board, a copy of that Board's current approval notice, and a copy of the patient informed consent form(s). If awarded a grant, these documents must be submitted before funding can begin.

The AOA Research Foundation observes the National Health and Medical Research Council's Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Experimental Purposes. Applicants for grants must accept the NHMRC animal experiment guidelines. All applications must be accompanied by an Institutional Ethics Committee Report whenever studies are to be carried out using humans or animals. If awarded a grant, this report must be submitted before funding can begin. Institutional Ethics Committees must be constituted according to the guidelines of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. Applications should also be signed by the Head of the Department and of the Institution.

All entities that receive funding from the AOA Research Foundation must adhere to the following principles:

  • Animals shall be used in biomedical research only when no other means of obtaining scientifically sound, valid and useful results are available

  • The minimum number of appropriate animals required to obtain and validate results shall be used

  • The acquisition, care and use of animals must be in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations

  • Certifications must be received from research facilities prior to being approved for a research grant that the facility, its researchers and employees adhere to the guidelines of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia

  • In cases requiring the death of an animal, only the most appropriate and humane form of euthanasia shall be used consistent with the purpose of the research.

How to Apply

Please prepare your application carefully, so that the objectives, background and methods are clearly stated.

Applicants are encouraged to have their applications reviewed by experienced research workers in their institution and statisticians before submitting them to the AOA Research Foundation Advisory Committee.

For all technical queries regarding the online application form please email research@aoa.org.au

Application Process – Important – New Online Form

For 2015 applications, an online system has been developed and applications will only be considered when submitted via this system. 

Starting and Saving an Application 

To start a new application form you must enter the Chief Investigator’s AOA member ID and password.

Applications may be completed in multiple sessions. Any data entered into the form will be saved at the end of each session providing that the ‘Save and Logout’ button is clicked before exiting the application. If you exit the form without clicking ‘Save and Logout’ then any data entered during that session will be lost.

Returning to a ‘Work in Progress’ Application

On clicking the ‘Save and Logout’ button a unique application reference code will be sent to the Chief Investigator’s email address. In order to return to a previously saved application form and continue working on it at a later date, the unique reference code must be entered in the third box on the application form log in screen.

If you do not enter this application reference code then you will be presented with a brand new blank form.

If you are working on several different application forms then you will be provided with a unique application reference code for each saved application.

Section Rules

The application form consists of seven sections (A–G). You may complete the sections in any order but all sections marked with an asterisk (*) must be completed before you submit the form.

Some sections of the application form invite you to upload supporting material as an attachment. Attachments must not exceed the specified document size limits and must be in one of the specified document formats. Size limits vary – ensure that you check the relevant size limit and document format by hovering over the question mark (?) symbol next to the relevant application form field.

Some text boxes specify character count limits, which will display when you begin typing into the text box. 

Submitting an Application

When a grant application is finalised it should be submitted using the ‘Submit’ button.  After submission no further changes will be possible.

An email will be sent confirming that submission of an application has been successful.

To commence a grant application, click here.

Please note:

In order to guarantee review of your application:

  • The prescribed application form must be submitted by the due date.

  • All assurances regarding animal and human subjects should be included with the completed application, if available. If awarded, failure to provide the required documentation in a timely fashion may result in the award being rescinded.

  • All institutional signatures and approvals must be included in the application form. All original institutional signatures must be included at the time of submission for an application to be considered complete.

  • All sections of the application marked with an asterisk (*) must be filled out.

  • No additional information for an application will be accepted after the due date including supplemental data to the research plan and letters of recommendation.

Queries about the grants application process should be directed to Susie Obeid at the Australian Orthopaedic Association Head Office.

Susie Obeid
T: 02 8071 8027 (direct) or 02 8071 8000 (main reception)
E: susie.obeid@aoa.org.au     

Selection and Marking Criteria

Applications are evaluated based upon the scientific quality of the research plan, relevance of the proposed research to program goals, the applicant's qualifications and the adequacy of the facility where the research will be conducted. The applications are assessed by the Research Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the Research Foundation, using the following Grant Assessment Criteria.  Applicants may also be interviewed by the Committee. Final recommendations regarding funding of projects will be made by the Committee and submitted to the Board for final consideration.

A decision to fund or not to fund a project is made by the AOA Research Foundation at its first Board meeting following close of applications. If successful applicants have applied to other funding organisations, the AOA Research Foundation will not commit funds to the project until the outcome of the other applications are known. If, after receiving payment from the AOA Research Foundation the investigator receives support for the same person or project from other sources, the award will terminate and the unexpended balance will be returned to the AOA Research Fund.

Commencement of Research

It is expected that the project will commence within six months after notification of the grant is received. The AOA Research Foundation Board is to be notified of any delay in commencement. If the responsible investigator leaves the institution or the project before the expiration of the grant, the grant will terminate unless arrangements satisfactory to the AOA Research Foundation Board have been made.

Funding Availability

Grants to individuals will be made only through a recognised institution and grants will usually be made in October. In special circumstances payment may be made at other times. A grant for the acquisition of major items of equipment will be made available on request when payment for the equipment is due. Any major variation in the program from that outlined in the application must first be referred to the AOA Research Foundation Board. A transfer of expenditure from one cost heading to another, for example salaries to supplies, is permissible within reasonable limits. However, any desired transfer of funds of a substantial amount should be referred to the AOA Research Foundation Board for approval.

Obligations of Grant Recipients

During the currency of the grant, the applicant (or other approved responsible person) is required to submit to the AOA Research Foundation Board, at least one month before the October Board meeting of the AOA Research Foundation, a report on the prescribed e-mail form detailing the work carried out on the project and the results achieved in the previous twelve months. During the currency of the grant and at the termination of the grant, both the Annual Progress Report and Expenditure Formshould also be completed and submitted detailing the appropriation and expenditure of grant monies during the preceding year and including a refund of any surplus of unexpended funds at completion of the research. The applicant is required to complete a final Annual Expenditure Form and a final Annual Progress Report Form listing publications (full articles and published abstracts) and meetings at which the of the research have been presented in the period up to two years after receipt of the grant.

Successful applicants are required to present the results of the research funded by the AOA Research Foundation at the AOA Annual Scientific Meeting no later than three years after receiving the grant. The results achieved from research supported by the AOA Research Foundation Fund should be submitted to scientific journals and be presented at other orthopaedic and scientific meetings. Acknowledgement should be given to the AOA Research Foundation Ltd for its support.

The applicant (or other responsible officer) must immediately notify the Australian Orthopaedic Association Research Foundation of any patentable discoveries, inventions, processes or improvements arising from AOA Research Foundation Fund's supported research. The AOA Research Foundation Advisory Committee reserves the right to negotiate royalties if these developments prove commercially successful.

In accordance with the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000, individuals, investigators or research institutions associated with the AOA Research Foundation grants shall abide by the NHMRC Guidelines under Section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988.

 

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