Researcher-funded Engagements FAQs

Below are FAQs for Researcher-funded Engagements. For our annual Collaboration round visit Faculty Supported Collaborations FAQs.

  • Who is eligible to apply for a Researcher-funded Engagement?

    Currently, Researcher-funded Engagements are only available to University of Melbourne researchers. The lead researcher must hold an academic staff position of at least 0.2 FTE within the University of Melbourne. 1

    1 Adapted from the criteria for Chief Investigator from the ARC Linkage Project Guidelines.

  • What kind of team will I get with a Researcher-funded Engagement?

    This depends on both your preference and the requirements of the project. In general, there are two options.

    1. You can engage individual MDAP staff through secondments, charged at a salary cost-recovery rate.
    2. MDAP can assemble a multi-disciplinary team of data specialists, charged at roughly Academic Level C1 rates.

    The number of MDAP team members involved in any funded engagement can vary during its life cycle, depending on the required skills and expertise at any one time. MDAP seeks to engage equally with researchers from all Faculties across the University.

  • What can I expect when collaborating with MDAP on a Researcher-funded Engagement?

    Our team is comprised of cross-domain academic specialists who work closely with University of Melbourne academics and researchers. Contributions include, but are not limited to, research design, computing, data management and processing, computational analysis, visualisation, and interpretation. Our contribution will depend on your research and its requirements.

    We will be collaborating with you on your research, adding our expertise and intellectual property to the work. We would also work with you as co-authors on research outputs (such as papers or journal articles) related to the aspects of the research we have contributed to.

    If we don’t have the capability or capacity to help, or there is an existing platform or service at the University who may be a better fit for your needs, we may redirect you to them. Complete a Funded Engagements contact form to let us know what you are looking for, and we can see if we can help.

  • How much does it cost to have a Researcher-funded Engagement with MDAP?

    It depends on the size of the project, and how long the work will take. An MDAP team is at $100 an hour, per FTE (roughly Level C1 plus on-costs), and individuals are on a cost-recovery secondment (so it depends on the level of the MDAPper). This is inclusive of all activity undertaken by the MDAP team after the funding agreement has been signed and approved, including meetings, and reporting back to the collaborators.






  • When can I submit a Researcher-funded Engagement request?

    The Funded Engagements online form is available year-round, however, our ability to collaborate on new projects and any one time is subject to staff/team capacity.

  • What happens once I submit a Researcher-Funded Engagement contact form?

    When a Funded Engagement request is received, MDAP will review the proposal to ensure that we have the expertise and available capacity within the team. If so, we will organise a scoping meeting with you (usually within one week of the submission), to obtain further information about the project, clarify what you are looking for, expected outputs, timeframes, and any other points relevant to the scope of the project.

    MDAP will draft a Terms of Engagement document, and once it has been reviewed and revised by both parties, the project will be fully costed. The Terms of Engagement will then be signed by both yourself and the MDAP director, after which the engagement can begin.

    General process

    Flowchart of the researched funded engagement process from contacting MDAP, discussing needs, scoping meeting, triage to different areas, or formalising an agreement with MDAP and work beginning

  • What size project would suit a Researcher-funded Engagement with MDAP?

    There are no fixed criteria to define the scope of project to which MDAP can contribute. Preference is typically given to longer engagements as there is more scope for MDAP to have a significant impact on the research program, and it reduces the amortised administration costs of funded engagements to the University.

  • Is my data suitable?

    We work with data from researchers across the University, in every Faculty and discipline area. This means we have worked with qualitative and quantitative data, structured and unstructured, databases or raw binary files. We’ve even worked with data that hasn’t been collected yet.

    The suitability of your data format really depends on what it is you are looking to do with it. Researchers and academics across all disciplines deal with diverse, significant, and vast data sets. These can often benefit from bespoke consultations and collaborations with academic specialists about management, curation, computation, analysis, infrastructure, and preservation. If you’re unsure, contact us.

  • Is this the only way to work with MDAP?

    No. MDAP also runs an internally competitive, Faculty-funded collaboration round. Expressions of interest will open around September for projects to be undertaken in the following year. MDAP can also provide consultations if you have questions about your data intensive research, and can be available for short projects, depending on capacity.

  • What is a Research Data Specialist?

    Within MDAP, these are academic specialists who collaborate with researchers on data-intensive research at the University of Melbourne. This can include work related to analysis, collection, storage, and presentation of data in support of research. Further, they can advise and sometimes assist researchers on issues related to software, computing resources, and relevant infrastructure.

  • What is 'data-intensive' research'?

    Disciplines vary in terms of data collection, analysis, and interpretation but there are recurring questions regarding management, computation, and infrastructure. Our team of Research Data Specialists can help you to determine what is most suitable for your research questions and data, and how either MDAP or other academic and/or service provision groups across the University can best assist you.