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Affiliated Schools Research Program


The Affiliated Schools program is a partnership between the University of Canberra (UC) and the ACT Government underpinned by a shared vision for Innovation, Research and Teacher Professional Development.

Aims and Scope

The Affiliated Schools Research Program aims to foster research towards system and school improvement through development and evaluation of evidence‐based enhancements to student learning and well‐being, teaching practice and educational policy. It will be aligned to the ACT Government Future of Education strategy.

Projects will leverage the strengths and address the unique needs of ACT Government schools, will address the strategic priorities of the ACT Government, and will involve collaborations between UC Faculty of Education academic staff, ACT Government School teachers and school leaders, and other staff within the ACT Education Directorate.

Projects might:

  • Range from school‐based action-research and pilot projects to large‐scale multi-school initiatives
  • Be self-contained or part of a larger existing research program
  • Be staged, with separate funding provided as the project grows from an initial pilot to a larger system wide initiative
  • Build on existing partnerships between teachers and UC academic staff
  • Be led by teachers or school leaders, emerging from school and cluster-identified needs, potentially aligned with teachers’ formal study or emerging from the Teacher as Researcher program, supported through collaboration, mentorship and/or professional learning involving UC academics
  • Be led by UC academics building on their prior research within identified priority themes, with teachers as partners and collaborators in the research.

Support from Principals of all schools where initiatives will be implemented or data collection will be undertaken will be essential.

All projects will need to demonstrate alignment with broader Directorate programs and initiatives. Research should be established to maximise opportunities for external funding (e.g. Australian Research Council Linkage Grants). Although research will be housed within Affiliated Schools, dissemination strategies need to ensure impact across the whole system.

Research themes

The following priority topics were agreed in 2019, for 2020 - 2021:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Cultural Integrity
  • Personalised Learning

In order to allow for additional priority topics to be added over the life of the program and in line with Ministerial and Directorate priorities, research can be considered if it aligns with the broader themes within the Future of Education strategy. The priority topics will be reviewed at six monthly intervals with refinements approved by the Affiliated Schools Steering Committee.

The Affiliated School Program leadership will endeavour to establish the partnerships and collaborations needed to ensure that at least one project is funded for each priority topic. Proposals for research focussing on other topics within the major themes will also be eligible for funding but will require stronger arguments about their importance. All other things being equal a higher funding priority will be assigned for research aligned with the priority topics.


Project leaders must be either continuing or contract academic staff of UC Faculty of Education or continuing or contract Education Directorate staff members. If the project leader is a contract rather than continuing staff member this should be factored into arguments about the long term impact and sustainability of the initiative.

Other team members may be continuing, contract or sessional UC Faculty of Education academic or professional staff members, or continuing, contract or casual Education Directorate staff members.

Affiliated researchers from other UC Faculties or other Universities may be named on the grant, but funds from the scheme cannot be expended within other Universities.

The project leader may not lead more than one active research grant at a time from the Affiliated Schools Research program. But the project leader can participate in other UC Faculty of Education academic’s affiliated schools research project as a co-investigator while she/he holds one active research project as a leader.


There are three categories of projects for which funding can be requested:

  • Small projects: pilot or seed funded projects, or single school action-research projects, undertaken in under 12 months, for which funding up to $20,000 can be requested;
  • Medium projects: projects which involve a major school-wide initiative at a single school or initiatives across a number of schools, undertaken in under 18 months, for which funding up to $100,000 can be requested; and
  • Large projects: projects or programs with system wide impact, normally which build on an earlier Small or Medium project or a large body of prior research, undertaken in under 3 years, for which funding up to $300,000 can be requested.

For more detailed guidelines about the project proposal, click here.