Researchers are encouraged to seek funds from Category 1 over Category 4 by their university. In some cases, the university will encourage that Category 1 funders do not put funding through a CRC because the return to the university drops as the money then becomes Category 4. This is anti-collaborative behaviour — the complete opposite of what we all recognise is in Australia’s best interests.
The original intent was that the Block Funding makes up for the failure of grants to cover the full cost of research, leaving CRCs as a lower return because they can theoretically pay the full cost of research. This is one of those situations where things are fine in theory, but fail in practice. The fact is, the CRC Programme is highly competitive and if an applicant were to seek the full cost of research from the Programme, their application would simply not be competitive. We are a Nationally Competitive Program, but treated differently to other Nationally Competitive Programs.