How to Write an ARC Rejoinder for Research, Innovation & Commercialisation

writing Rejoinders
writing Rejoinders

The term “rejoinder” refers to a written response or reply, specifically related to the grant application process.

It is not used in the sense of a witty comeback to a question. Instead, it is a formal written document where applicants address the assessors’ comments and criticisms on their grant proposals.

Check our article on writing Rejoinders

Should I Write a Rejoinder?

Absolutely! All applicants should take the opportunity to lodge a rejoinder. A strong rejoinder can improve your ranking, significantly increasing your chances of being awarded a grant.

When writing the rejoinder, avoid emotional language and focus on backing your arguments with facts and examples.

Understanding Assessor Reports

Assessor reports offer valuable feedback, but they represent advice to the ARC and don’t guarantee grant approval. The ARC College of Experts makes the final recommendations to the ARC Board and the Minister. The rejoinder should help the College of Experts make informed decisions by addressing any concerns raised by the assessors.

Navigating RMS and Submitting Your Rejoinder

Assessor reports are available in RMS, and you’ll create the rejoinder in the same system. The rejoinder must be written within a limited timeframe, usually around 10 working days after receiving the assessor’s comments. Make sure to follow the ARCs Rejoinder Process Instruction Document for guidance on how to use RMS effectively.

Who Reads My Rejoinder?

Rejoinders are only read by members of the ARC College of Experts, not by assessors. Keep this audience in mind while writing your rejoinder, as they might not be experts in your field.

Avoid engaging in arguments with assessors; instead, focus on how the College of Experts will evaluate your response to the assessor’s comments.

Tips for Writing the Rejoinder

  1. Write in simple, clear, and direct language to avoid confusion or jargon.
  2. Address all questions and criticisms raised in the assessor reports.
  3. Put the most critical arguments in the first paragraphs to capture the reader’s attention.
  4. Keep the rejoinder brief, aiming for clear and compelling responses.
  5. Consider organizing your rejoinder by topics or selection criteria, as preferred by some college members.

Handling Positive or Mixed Comments

If the assessor reports are overwhelmingly positive, keep your rejoinder brief and reinforce the positive points. Use abridged quotes from assessors and summarize strong points in the conclusion.

Handling Negative Comments or Mixed Support

If you receive negative comments or mixed support, don’t elevate minor criticisms into major issues. Address critical feedback directly and substantiate your claims against negative comments using positive feedback, if possible. Respond in a positive and constructive manner, acknowledging valid criticism and offering alternative approaches.

Getting Additional Advice

To further improve your rejoinder, consider the following tips:

  1. Review successful rejoinders to learn from previous applicants.
  2. Discuss your reports and rejoinder drafts with colleagues and mentors.
  3. Attend seminars or workshops provided by your institution’s research office.
  4. Seek feedback from colleagues to improve your rejoinder before submission.

Writing a successful rejoinder is a critical step in securing research grants from the ARC. By following these guidelines and seeking advice from peers and mentors, you can increase your chances of success in the grant application process. Good luck with your research endeavors!