MARCS Research Development Portfolio

What is the MARCS Research Development Portfolio?

Aligned with WSU’s Researcher Development Framework Strategy and emphasis on research leadership, mentoring and training, the MARCS Research Development Portfolio is overseen by the MARCS Research Director Associate Professor John Cass and the MARCS Research Development Officer Dr Karen Hutchings, who work closely with the MARCS Institute Director Professor Kate Stevens, Chief Scientist Dr Manuel Varlet, Director of Impact and Engagement Dr Celia Harris, and in tandem with WSU's Grant Services and Library Research Services teams.

Why do we need a MARCS Research Development Portfolio?

The current Australian tertiary research environment is characterised by increased competition for research funding, increased focus on translation, impact and engagement, and a mandate for academic-industry connections and partnerships. This environment requires researchers to deliver higher quality applications, diversify their funding sources, demonstrate real world application of their research, and develop partnerships with industry and community groups. Consequently, the MARCS Institute must balance the funding and conducting of traditional “blue sky” research with the ability to attract funding from a variety of non-Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) sources including from industry partners and through tenders/contracts that require more applied research.

How does it work?

The MARCS Research Development Portfolio helps researchers work strategically on their funding applications by deploying the necessary internal expertise where is is needed most, particularly for Early and Mid-Career Researchers (EMCRs), while ensuring that we also attract the highest calibre of external researchers (e.g. applicants for Discovery projects (such as DECRAs, Future Fellows) who can clearly see the value add of being associated with MARCS for their career path and mentoring.

To this end, the MARCS Research Development Portfolio is responsible for assisting researchers in the identification of relevant and individually appropriate funding opportunities including Category 1 (Government-funded Australian competitive grants), Category 2 (Other Public Sector R&D Income), and Category 3 (Industry and Other R&D Income) grant applications, as well as tenders, contract work, and WSU internal funding schemes; and guiding, mentoring and providing peer reviewing for them throughout the preparation and writing of their funding applications from draft to submission stage. The Portfolio also develops and hosts research funding related training workshops and activities within the Institute. The MARCS Research Committee is conducted within the Portfolio to support the aims and responsibilities of the Research Development Portfolio and meets bi-monthly. Membership of the Committee consists of MARCS Institute and School based members from all levels (ECR, MCR and Senior Researchers), a Higher Degree student representative, and representatives from associated Western Sydney University Schools. These roles are elected to annual or bi-annual terms of service.


The Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Making a Difference publication showcases a year of ARC-supported research from universities from all around the country, and across the full range of research disciplines. The range of research on display in this publication gives a snapshot of the extraordinarily wide variety of research that ARC funding support enables.

If you have a great ARC-funded research outcome story for the ARC to consider for inclusion in future editions, please speak to Karen Hutchings as we can share it with the ARC via

More Information Below

Visit the pages below for more information on the MARCS and WSU grant application process, research development activities and presentations, and information on the MARCS research levy.