The Linkage Projects scheme promotes national, and international, collaboration and research partnerships between key stakeholders in research and innovation including higher education institutions, government, business, industry and end-users. Research and development is undertaken to apply advanced knowledge to problems, acquire new knowledge and as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.

To facilitate successful collaboration between higher education institutions and other parts of the innovation system, Linkage Projects proposals can be submitted at any time and funding outcomes are announced within six months of proposal submission.

The Linkage Projects scheme provides funding to Eligible Organisations to support research and development (R&D) projects which:

  • are collaborative between higher education researchers and other parts of the national innovation system
  • are undertaken to acquire new knowledge, and
  • involve risk or innovation.

Proposals for funding under the Linkage Projects scheme must include at least one Partner Organisation. The Partner Organisation must make a contribution in cash and/or in kind to the project. The combined Partner Organisation contributions for a Proposal (i.e. the total of the cash and in-kind contributions of the Partner Organisations) must at least match the total funding requested from the ARC.

The objectives of the Linkage Projects scheme are to:

  • support the initiation and/or development of long-term strategic research alliances between higher education organisations and other organisations, including industry and other research end-users, in order to apply advanced knowledge to problems and/or to provide opportunities to obtain national economic, commercial, social or cultural benefits
  • provide opportunities for internationally competitive research projects to be conducted in collaboration with organisations outside the higher education sector, targeting those who have demonstrated a clear commitment to high-quality research
  • encourage growth of a national pool of world-class researchers to meet the needs of the broader Australian innovation system
  • build the scale and focus of research in the national Science and Research Priorities.

The Linkage Projects scheme provides project funding of $50,000 to $300,000 per year for two to five years. Project funding may be used for: personnel, for example, research associates or assistants and technicians and stipends for higher degree by research students; teaching relief; access to research and infrastructure facilities and technical workshop services; essential field research; expert third party services; equipment and consumables; publication and dissemination of outputs and outreach; specialised computer equipment and software; travel costs essential to the project; web hosting and development; workshops, focus groups and conferences; and essential support costs for researchers who are carers or who themselves require care.

Continuous submission and assessment process

The Linkage Projects scheme opened for continuous submission and assessment of proposals on 1 July 2016—a measure announced by the Australian Government as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda on 7 December 2015.

The continuous submission and assessment process means that proposals are rigorously assessed as soon as they are submitted in the ARC’s Research Management System (RMS).

To enable the ARC to inform applicants of outcomes as soon as possible, high and low-ranked proposals are fast-tracked through the assessment process with outcomes announced as early as possible after submission. All other proposals are expected to be announced within six months of proposal submission.

The first projects to be funded under this process were announced by the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, on 30 January 2017

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the relevant Funding Rules and Funding Agreements. Grants from the ARC are made to organisations, not individual researchers or research teams. The Funding Rules contain the list of Eligible Organisations. The Linkage Projects ‘Instructions to Applicants’ also contain information about the continuous submission and assessment of proposals and should be read and understood before submitting proposals.

Key Dates for Linkage Projects 2017

The Linkage Projects scheme (2017 round) is run on a continuous basis and proposals can be submitted at any time up to 19 December 2017.

  • Release of Funding Rules: 22 September 2016
  • Proposals Open: 23 December 2016
  • Request Not to Assess Close: At time of proposal submission
  • Proposals Close: The last day for submitting proposals under the 2017 round of the Linkage Projects scheme is 19 December 2017.
  • Rejoinders: With the move to a continuous application process, there is not a fixed time for rejoinders.  The research office will be notified two weeks in advance of the rejoinder opening for a proposal and applicants will have approximately one week to complete the rejoinder after opening.
  • Announcement: Approximately six months from the proposal submission date*

*Please note that these are approximate timeframes and are subject to change.