Questions and comments received by the ACEAS team and responses to them (where relevant) are placed on this page. Hopefully these will provide some answers, provoke some thought, and improve ACEAS performance.
When I have my username and password and log in, the web site does not seem to change. How do I access the application forms?
If you look carefully at the menu buttons on the right hand side, there is a new one called 'application forms' above the login/logout button. Click on that and all will be revealed.
There are several items in the form that have to be filled in right away, but once you have done that you can save and return to your form over the next month. Once you click 'save and submit' you will not be able to edit your form any more.
If you are using firefox as your web browser, you may have some trouble printing your form out as you go along, and there is a link provided to the relevant web page to explain this. It is the version of the browser, not our fault!
I wonder if you could provide some guidance on a small question regarding the composition of ACEAS working groups? Who qualifies as a manager, as distinct from scientists?
A ‘manager’ is a person who has direct responsibility for on-ground and organisational decision-making: applying the science. The scientist may be an applied scientist (e.g. employed in a government department, or consultancy company), but their focus is on deriving new knowledge and understanding about some component of the ecosystem as opposed to the employment of that science. Managers, for example, would be non-science employees of a government department (local, state or national) who make day-to-day decisions about permits, thresholds and impacts.
I just have a quick question about ACEAS working groups that you may be able to help me with. I have been assuming that they need to be predominantly Australian focussed, or can they be international in focus?
They need to be Australian-focussed due to the funding source (DIISR). Of course, comparisons can be very informative, so contributions from international scientists, policy-makers or managers are very welcome.
How do I calculate the amount of money I need?
There is a downloadable excel budget calculator in the 'preparing proposals' section on the web site and also on the applications form in the budget section. This has to be kept in case of success, and is prepared with some auto-calculation sections for ease of use.
For travel, the main thing you need to do is identify how many international fares and how many domestic, and how much they are x the number of people. A fare from Belgium will not be the same as a fare from Los Angeles, neither will a fare from Perth be the same as one from Sydney. Some people might come by car or bus, so they fit into the 'other' category. Similarly taxis from the airport to UQ (shared taxis are really good, and we have a readily available list of phone numbers for these and lots of other things). In the application form you only need to put in a summary, but the details will be in the calculator.
For accommodation, the main thing is to work on the number of people x nights x level of accommodation. We have chosen one level of accommodation now, as we have some hotels that are comparable...If at UQ, colleges will save you some money but are only available for a limited time of the year (mid-year and summer).
For meals, day time meals are included, and one workshop dinner if you have more than a 2 day workshop. We have put in a costing based on average Brisbane restaurant prices for the dinner, and day time meal costs are based on ATO rates, and we have suggested $34.00 pp per day.
I am keen to find out more about the ACEAS and some of its functions and activities. I understand from your website that the ACEAS provides grants, and am interested to hear more about these, particularly the upcoming October round. Also, to what extent is the integration and synthesis of ecosystem data actually conducted where you are at the University of Queensland? Or is this sort of work more a part of the workshops etc which the group funds instead?
Integration and synthesis of data and information will occur any time from receipt of funding (via the wikis etc.), but the workshops are supposed to provide the most intensive opportunities for doing that. The workshops are held in Brisbane, and the teams of people do the analysis, supported by us. We are working towards remote facilities for data integration and some analysis through the ACEAS facility.
ACEAS does not fund original data collection, although that may be stimulated by the synthesis and analysis (e.g. team members go off between meetings under their own steam to collect data identified as missing and vital in the discussions/analyses).
What about my university's on-costs?
As we are now paying for all your group's expenses up to the ceiling that you have calculated, this is no longer an issue. If there are other costs not encompassed by our funding model...
Check with your organisation.
When I get to the actual application form, I am finding the requirements for the list of participants a little difficult to understand.
We now have a downloadable excel form with the cells expandable. Please limit your text to what is relevant to the proposed project. The components are:
(a) Name, (b) affiliation, (c) brief biography relevant to proposal, and (d) reason for inclusion.
The name of the participant and their affiliation are easy (this is where we we look particularly, when checking to see you have a range of organisations involved), but (c) and (d) appear to be less clear. This is not their email address, but their workplace.
What we are after is a group that is made up of people all of whom have specific skills and knowledge they bring to the exercise. We want to know that everyone is required and they have a real role, and for (c) you might have: so and so has widely published in area X, and is known as one of the key people in Australia for the application of this to Y.
(d) relates more to the statement of which group members fall into some of the other categories we are interested in (ACEAS is interested in building capacity), e.g. early-career researcher or postdoctoral student, manager, technical liaison nominee etc. We have two columns for this: one for the selection of a category (and not all participants will have one of these), and one for the contribution you are expecting them to make to the group. This will directly stem from their biography and you may decide that this is superflous.
Of course all these people should have been contacted to ensure they are willing to be part of the group.
How long should meetings be? Does ACEAS have a lower limit for meeting length?
We have recommended that meetings should be at least 3 days long and around 5 days is optimum. Any shorter and the group members barely start-up and leave their jobs behind, and any longer is difficult to manage...and people get sick of one another (perhaps). If your group thinks 3 days is too long, then perhaps ACEAS is not for them!
|Last Updated on Thursday, 02 June 2011 11:49|