ARC Centre of Excellence Selection Report for funding commencing in 2011

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Overview

The ARC Centres of Excellence scheme aims to enhance and develop Australia’s research excellence through highly innovative and collaborative research, as well as build Australia’s human capacity in a range of research areas.

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Objectives

As indicated in the Funding Rules for this scheme, the objectives of the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme are to:

  1. undertake highly innovative and potentially transformational research that aims to achieve international standing in the fields of research envisaged and leads to a significant advancement of capabilities and knowledge
  2. link existing Australian research strengths and build critical mass with new capacity for interdisciplinary, collaborative approaches to address the most challenging and significant research problems
  3. develop relationships and build new networks with major national and international centres and research programmes to help strengthen research, achieve global competitiveness and gain recognition for Australian research
  4. build Australia’s human capacity in a range of research areas by attracting and retaining, from within Australia and abroad, researchers of high international standing as well as the most promising research students
  5. provide high-quality postgraduate and postdoctoral training environments for the next generation of researchers
  6. offer Australian researchers opportunities to work on large-scale problems over longer periods of time
  7. establish Centres of such repute in the wider community that they will serve as points of interaction among higher education institutions, governments, industry and the private sector generally.

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Selection processrogram

The ARC Centres of Excellence selection round was conducted through the following competitive three-stage process.

Applicants submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) between 9 October and 25 November 2009. These EOIs were reviewed by an ARC Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) comprising international experts across the discipline areas. Successful EOIs were invited to submit a Proposal between 16 February and 19 April 2010.

Proposals were assessed by SAC members and specialist assessors against the selection criteria as listed in the ARC Centres of Excellence Funding Rules for funding commencing in 2011. The SAC ranked each Proposal relative to the others on the basis of the Proposal and assessors’ reports. The highest ranked Proposals were shortlisted for interview.

Interviews were held in the week of 5 July 2010. The SAC ranked each shortlisted Proposal relative to the others on the basis of the assessor reports and the interview. Individual budgets were assessed alongside the total ARC Centres of Excellence budget. The ARC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) made funding recommendations to the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and these recommendations were subsequently approved.

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Selection criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weights for EOIs:

  • Proposed research programme (50%)
  • Investigators (50%).

Selection criteria and corresponding weights for Proposals:

  • Research programme (25%)
  • Investigators (25%)
  • Governance, leadership and mentoring (25%)
  • Outcomes and linkages (25%)

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Funding levels and duration

Funding of between $1 million and $4 million per annum for up to seven years may be awarded for each ARC Centre of Excellence.

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Approved funding

The ARC received 111 EOIs and invited 32 applicants to submit Proposals. One invited Proposal was not submitted. Of the 31 ARC Centres of Excellence Proposals submitted, 13 (41.9%) are approved for funding. This represents an Australian Government commitment of $255.9 million over the life of these Centres.

Table 1.    Numbers of EOIs, Proposals and success rates for ARC Centre of Excellence 2011 by discipline panel

Panel*

EOIs considered

EOIs shortlisted

EOI Success rate

Proposals considered

Proposals interviewed

Proposals approved

Proposal Success rate

BSB

38

8

21.1%

8

3

2

25.0%

EMI

23

6

26.1%

6

2

1

16.7%

HCA

17

5

29.4%

4

2

1

25.0%

PCE

19

9

47.4%

9

8

7

77.8%

SBE

14

4

28.6%

4

3

2

50.0%

Total

111

32

28.8%

31

18

13

41.9%

*BSB = Biological Sciences and Biotechnology; EMI = Engineering, Mathematics and Informatics; HCA = Humanities and Creative Arts; PCE = Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences; SBE = Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences

Table 2. Requested and approved funding for ARC Centre of Excellence 2011 by discipline panel

Panel*

Proposals approved

Requested funds over project life (approved Proposals)

Approved funds over project life (approved Proposals)

Approved funds as % of requested funds

BSB

2

$51,379,062

$31,150,000

60.6%

EMI

1

$28,000,000

$14,400,000

51.4%

HCA

1

$25,942,941

$24,250,000

93.5%

PCE

7

$182,569,206

$152,400,000

83.5%

SBE

2

$46,408,554

$33,700,000

72.6%

Total

13

$334,229,763

$255,900,000

76.5%

*BSB = Biological Sciences and Biotechnology; EMI = Engineering, Mathematics and Informatics; HCA = Humanities and Creative Arts; PCE = Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences; SBE = Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences

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Outcomes by Administering Organisation

Table 3. Numbers of EOIs and Proposals, success rates and ARC approved funding for ARC Centres of Excellence 2011 by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation

EOIs considered

EOIs shortlisted

EOI Success rate

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Proposal Success rate

Approved funds over project life (approved Proposals)

Central Queensland University

1

0

0.0%

Charles Sturt University

2

0

0.0%

Curtin University of Technology

1

0

0.0%

Edith Cowan University

1

0

0.0%

Griffith University

4

1

25.0%

1

0

0.0%

La Trobe University

2

0

0.0%

Macquarie University

3

2

66.7%

2

2

100.0%

$33,400,000

Monash University

9

0

0.0%

Murdoch University

1

0

0.0%

Queensland University of Technology

5

0

0.0%

RMIT

1

1

100.0%

1

0

0.0%

Southern Cross University

1

0

0.0%

The Australian National University

10

3

30.0%

3

0

0.0%

The University of Adelaide

5

2

40.0%

2

1

50.0%

$19,250,000

The University of Melbourne

18

5

27.8%

5

1

20%

$25,200,000

The University of New England

2

0

0.0%

The University of New South Wales

12

6

50.0%

6

3

50.0%

$58,600,000

The University of Newcastle

4

2

50.0%

2

1

50.0%

$14,400,000

The University of Queensland

13

4

30.8%

4

2

50.0%

$36,400,000

The University of Sydney

5

4

80.0%

3

2

66.7%

$44,400,000

The University of Western Australia

3

1

33.3%

1

1

100.0%

$24,250,000

University of South Australia

1

0

0.0%

University of Tasmania

2

0

0.0%

University of Technology Sydney

1

1

100.0%

1

0

0.0%

University of Western Sydney

2

0

0.0%

University of Wollongong

2

0

0.0%

Table 4. ARC Centre of Excellence 2011 Proposals approved for funding

ARC Centre of Excellence title

Centre Director

Administering Organisation

Total approved funds over project life

All-sky Astrophysics

Professor B Gaensler

The University of Sydney

$20,600,000

Climate System Science

Professor A Pitman

The University of New South Wales

$21,400,000

Core to Crust Fluid System

Professor S O’Reilly

Macquarie University

$12,400,000

Engineered Quantum Systems

Professor G Milburn

The University of Queensland

$24,500,000

Environmental Decisions

Professor H Possingham

The University of Queensland

$11,900,000

Geotechnical Science and Engineering

Professor S Sloan

The University of Newcastle

$14,400,000

History of Emotions

Professor P Maddern

The University of Western Australia

$24,250,000

Particle Physics at the Tera-Scale

Professor G Taylor

The University of Melbourne

$25,200,000

Plant Cell Wall Biology

Professor G Fincher

The University of Adelaide

$19,250,000

Population Ageing Research

Professor J Piggott

The University of New South Wales

$12,700,000

Quantum Computation and Communication Technology

Professor M Simmons

The University of New South Wales

$24,500,000

Study of Cognition and its Disorders

Professor S Crain

Macquarie University

$21,000,000

Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems

Professor B Eggleton

The University of Sydney

$23,800,000

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Collaboration

ARC Centres of Excellence encourage collaboration between university researchers at the Administering and Collaborating Organisations and researchers and end-users at Partner Organisations, both within Australia and internationally.

The approved Proposals involve eight Administering Organisations, 18 Collaborating Organisations and 124 Partner Organisations.

Table 5. ARC requested funds and cash commitments from all Organisations for ARC Centres of Excellence 2011 approved Proposals

ARC Centre of Excellence title

ARC requested funds over project life

Cash commitment from all Organisations* over project life

Cash commitment from all Organisations* as % of ARC requested funds over project life

All-sky Astrophysics

$21,931,461

$7,514,280

34.3%

Climate System Science

$28,000,000

$9,510,383

34.0%

Core to Crust Fluid System

$23,647,745

$13,580,400

57.4%

Engineered Quantum Systems

$26,950,000

$14,615,521

54.2%

Environmental Decisions

$24,079,062

$7,152,740

29.7%

Geotechnical Science and Engineering

$28,000,000

$8,225,000

29.4%

History of Emotions

$25,942,941

$6,112,122

23.6%

Particle Physics at the Tera-Scale

$28,000,000

$8,344,000

29.8%

Plant Cell Wall Biology

$27,300,000

$12,190,000

44.7%

Population Ageing Research

$20,327,075

$8,037,750

39.5%

Quantum Computation and Communication Technology

$28,000,000

$11,604,750

41.4%

Study of Cognition and its Disorders

$26,081,479

$7,989,411

30.5%

Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems

$26,040,000

$9,238,831

35.5%

Total

$334,299,763

$124,115,188

37.1%

*Administering Organisation, Collaborating Organisations and Partner Organisations

International collaboration is an important component of ARC Centres of Excellence. All approved Proposals indicated international collaborations with at least three countries, with the majority indicating international collaborations with five or more countries. Data relating to international collaboration is shown in Table 6.

Table 6. International collaboration for ARC Centres of Excellence 2011 by country of collaboration

Collaborating country

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Argentina

1

0

Austria

3

2

Belgium

3

1

Brazil

1

0

Canada

13

7

Chile

2

0

China, People’s Republic

9

2

Colombia

1

0

Costa Rica

1

0

Denmark

3

1

Finland

1

1

France

9

3

Germany

22

10

India

4

1

Indonesia

1

0

Ireland

1

0

Israel

1

1

Italy

3

2

Japan

10

6

Korea, Republic of

2

0

Netherlands, The

5

1

New Zealand

7

1

Norway

2

2

Portugal

1

0

Singapore

7

2

South Africa

2

1

Spain

1

0

Sri Lanka

1

0

Sweden

6

3

Switzerland

7

2

Taiwan

1

0

United Kingdom

25

12

United States

29

13

Uruguay

1

0

Vietnam

1

0

Total

187

74

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Gender

Table 7. Proportion of male and female Centre Directors on Proposals for ARC Centres of Excellence 2011

Centre Director

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Male

26

10

38.5%

Female

5

3

60.0%

*BSB = Biological Sciences and Biotechnology; EMI = Engineering, Mathematics and Informatics; HCA = Humanities and Creative Arts; PCE = Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences; SBE = Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences

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National Research Priorities

The Australian Government has identified four National Research Priorities and, within these, 21 National Research Priority goals. A number of Proposals identified multiple National Priority Areas and the information shown below is using the first priority listed.

Table 8. Approved funding for ARC Centres of Excellence 2011 by National Research Priority

Priority Area

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Approved funds over project life

An Environmentally Sustainable Australia

12

3

25.0%

$45,700,000

Promoting and Maintaining Good Health

5

3

60%

$57,950,000

Frontier Technologies for Building and Transforming Australian Industries

13

7

53.8%

$152,250,000

Safeguarding Australia

1

0

0.0%

Total Proposals

31

13

41.9%

$255,900,000