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Key messages from the ANDS Guide to Research Grants and Projects Discovery Service

  • This discovery service is for research grants, projects and programs with relevant search filters, viewing and reporting Funders supply RDA with information about grants
  • Research institutions (contributors) provide RDA with information about research projects
  • ANDS encourages institutions to supply information about all of their research projects (for linking with grants, data sets, publications etc)
  • A globally unique, persistent and resolvable identifier exists for every grant in RDA and this identifier should always be used when describing research outputs resulting from the grant
  • The CrossRef organisation maintains a global Taxonomy of research funder names with assigned DOI. This taxonomy should be used for supplying funder names
  • The Research Activity API allows machines to query this information
  • ANDS would appreciate feedback on this service using the Feedback button on the relevant RDA screen


Research Data Australia (RDA) has a separate, customised search for research activity. This is a pilot service which is subject to review and input from different audiences to improve its usability and meet new requirements before a second version in 2016. Please report problems or suggest improvements using the Feedback button which is at the bottom right of every screen on RDA.

The types of users and requirements we envisaged when designing this service were:


  • Looking for current or earlier research in areas related to their current study
  • Looking for research grants awarded to specific colleagues in their field
  • Extracting a list of the research projects they have been involved with
  • Looking at the research being funded by particular funder(s) to see if their own proposal fits with that funder

Research Managers:

  • Analysing research being conducted at their own or competitor universities
  • Building research profiles for their institution and their researchers


  • Finding the correct grant identifier with which to tag publications and data collections (possibly Institutional Repository staff)


  • Looking at the prior research experience of applicants for new funding
  • Looking at research being funded by other funding bodies

Research grants and projects: ANDS Discovery service Guide

This guide explains how to make the best use of this service. It also describes the scope and purpose of this aggregation of grant information from various funders and project information from research institutions.

The guide describes the service from a human interaction standpoint. There is also a Research Grants API which allows machines to interrogate this same grant information. This machine interface is already used by some institutional repository systems and publishing systems as a lookup and validation service for tagging research outputs with related grants.

Research grants and projects Guide

Accessing this service

This search service can be accessed via the 'Explore' menu option - 'Grants and Projects' or also via the Advanced Search. The direct link is

To use the related Research Grants API see the Research Grants API Documentation.

Scope of research activity descriptions in RDA

RDA aggregates grant information supplied by multiple research funders and project descriptions supplied by universities, research institutions and agencies.

Grants (supplied by funders)

Grant descriptions are the responsibility of the funder. At the bottom of the Explore Grants and Projects home page is a list of the funders who contribute grant descriptions to RDA. Click on a funder name to view information about the funder, their funding programs and information about their grant data with any caveats on usage, quality and currency.

Funders may also provide program funding descriptions as well as the grants awarded via those programs. RDA will support this hierarchy in a future release.

Some funders provide public access to their history of funding grants through an online search, downloads on their websites, or both. Each funder has their own format and structure for describing grants and their information may have detail that is absent in RDA.

Currently the funders included in the service are:

  • The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC): provides ANDS with an extract from their grants system twice per year. This contains descriptions of all their grants awarded since 1998.
  • The Australian Research Council (ARC): provides ANDS with descriptions of all the grants for projects, programs, infrastructure, equipment and fellowships it has awarded since the inception of the National Capital Grants Program (NGCP) in 2001.
  • Department of the Environment.

ANDS has a forward plan to obtain grant information from other funders to add to RDA. Two new funders, the Goyder Institute and the Department of Environment have already supplied grant information for publication.

Projects (Supplied by RDA Contributors)

Since Release 15 of RDA in April 2015, Activity records are no longer returned in the main RDA search. They will only be found when using the Grants and Projects search. As a result of this change, ANDS now encourages contributors to supply descriptions (or Activity records) for as many research projects as possible, both past and current, regardless of whether there is currently a related collection description in RDA.

Project descriptions are the responsibility of the research institution who contributes the information, typically the institution responsible for managing the project. If the project is funded by a research grant described in RDA, it is very important that the grant's purl identifier is recorded in an identifier element for the project so that the project and grant descriptions can be linked. This makes it possible for RDA to infer a data collection is the output of a research grant, even when it is only linked to the project. This is an important link in the research discovery context as publication outputs are also linked to the grant identifier.

If the corresponding grant has not been provided to RDA by the funder, and thus has no purl grant identifier, then supplying the funder and grant ID as part of the research project description is still encouraged.

Institutions may also supply information about research programs which may include a number of projects and be broader in their objectives than focused studies. RDA will support this hierarchy.

The RDA Content Providers Guide and the ANDS Data Connections Strategy are all document aspects of contributing project records and were expanded as part of Release 15.

Some of the quality issues currently occurring with project descriptions are:

  • Activity types other than grant, project or program
  • Projects without a link to the institution that manages the project - "isManagedBy"
  • No funding information
  • Start and end dates for the project are not included or have been encoded in the wrong RIF-CS element, i.e. temporal coverage instead of existence dates

ANDS will be working with our contributing partners to assist with resolving some of these issues.

Data Collections

Contributors of Data Collection descriptions to RDA are encouraged to include in them a reference to the grant and/or project which funded/generated the data. When viewing a research grant or project in RDA these dataset outputs will be listed. Further details can be found in the Content Providers Guide Activity element page.


Institutional Repositories are now tagging their open access versions of publications with the purl identifier for the research grant which funded, or partially funded the work. These publication descriptions are harvested by the National Library of Australia into their Trove service to provide a central discovery service for Australian research publications. We are able to include these related publications on the view page for the grant in RDA.

Naming funders

For those funders not supplying grant information to RDA yet, a global list of research funders is maintained by the CrossRef organisation in their FundRef registry. Each funder is assigned a DOI by CrossRef. When researchers are submitting articles to journals for publication, they are asked to select from this list of names and then add the grant IDs as free text. RDA uses this same list of funder names and every Australian entry in the FundRef registry has an entry in RDA. This list of funders is available for machine lookup via our Research Grants API and also via a link at the bottom of the 'Explore Grants and Funders' home page.

Both the identifier and the key for a funder's party record in RDA is the FundRef DOI assigned to them by CrossRef. Contributors should contact if they can't find a funder record in RDA for an organisation funding a research project at their institution.

Once grant descriptions from a funder are recorded in RDA, the funder will then appear in the carousel of funders on the Grants and Projects home page with a link to their funder page.

If you have any questions about this service, please email You can also use the Feedback button on the bottom right of every screen in RDA to suggest service improvements or report problems.

Terms of use

NHMRC grant information Terms of Use - describes the terms of services that govern the access to the NHMRC activity records in Research Data Australia or through the Research Activity API. Particularly it explains the scope of provided information, the update frequency and the maintenance procedure.

ARC Grant Information Terms of Use - describes the terms of services that govern the access to the NHMRC activity records in Research Data Australia or through the Research Activity API. Particularly it explains the scope of provided information, data currency information and the maintenance procedure.