National Competitive Grants Program
Selection Report for Funding Commencing in 2003
Discovery-Projects combines the previous ARC Large Grants schemes and the Fellowships programme and continues their emphasis on excellence of research projects and researchers.
The objectives of the Discovery Projects scheme are to:
- support excellent fundamental research by individuals and teams
- assist researchers to undertake their research in conditions most conducive to achieving best results
- expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability
- encourage research training in high-quality research environments.
Assessment of applications was undertaken by Expert Advisory Committees, which:
- excluded ineligible applications
- assigned independent readers/assessors to review the applications
- sought applicants’ comments on assessors’ reports
- ranked each application relative to the others on the basis of the application, the assessors’ reports and applicants’ response to these assessments
- assessed and recommended budgets
- prepared funding recommendations for submission to the ARC Board for endorsement and then to the Minister for approval.
The ARC applied strict procedures for declaring conflicts of interest and for members to withdraw from considering particular applications. Readers for each discipline grouping were drawn from a range of institutions to avoid potential conflict of interest problems.
At the selection meeting held on 19-23 August, the Expert Advisory Committees ranked the applications, taking into account readers and assessors’ reports and rejoinders from applicants. The Committee made final checks on eligibility. A list of projects recommended for funding was then prepared for submission to the ARC Board.
The selection criteria for Discovery Projects are
- track record of the researchers relative to opportunities (40%);
- significance and degree of innovation in the proposed research programme (30%);
- relevance and adequacy of the proposed approach (20%);
- national benefit (10%).
The Australian Research Council considered 3601 proposals for funding under the Discovery-Projects programme. Of these, 921 were funded (25.8%), 27 withdrew and 44 were ineligible. This represents an ARC commitment of $75,472,214 in 2003 or $231,177,833 over five years.
Table 1:Success Rates for Discovery Projects commencing 2002-2003
|No of applications||2002||2003|
Note: in all cases, success rates are calculated without including withdrawn applications
As a result of Backing Australia’s Ability’s, funding for Discovery—Projects increased by $19.9 million (33.7%) for 2003. There was a 16% increase in applications for 2003 funding.
Table 2: Numbers and Success Rates for Discovery Projects by Discipline Group
|Discipline Group||Applications Received||Withdrawn Applications||Recommended Applications||Success Rate||Requested funds 2003-2007||Recommended funds 2003-2007|
The average total grant size for Discovery--Projects, over the life of the projects, has increased as shown in the table below.
Table 3: Average total grant size for Discovery commencing 2002-2003
There has been an increase in the number of applications seeking funding for 4 or 5 years. For funding commencing in 2002, there were 600 applications for funding for 4 and 5 years. For funding commencing in 2003, the figure was 703. For 2003, 134 projects were recommended for funding for 4 or 5 years.
It should be noted that in applications for funding commencing in 2003, the ARC is funding 64.9% of the average amount requested. In applications for funding commencing in 2002 the equivalent figure was 62.0%. For specific panel percentages see Table 4.
Table 4: Amounts requested by and allocated to successful applicants for Year 1
|Panel||Average amount requested||Average amount allocated||Average amount allocated as a % of amount requested|
Funding by institution
The following table shows application numbers and total ARC funding by institution for the Discovery-Project scheme.
Table 5: Total ARC funding by institution for Discovery-Projects
|Administrating Organisation||Total Applications||Funded Applications||Success Rate||Total Allocation 2003-2007|
|Australian Catholic University||17||1||5.90%||$203,245|
|Australian Maritime College||3||0||0.00%|
|Central Queensland University||6||0||0.00%|
|Charles Sturt University||24||5||21.70%||$1,216,390|
|CSIRO - Australia Telescope National Facility||1||0||0.00%|
|CSIRO - Plant Industry||1||0||0.00%|
|Curtin University of Technology||75||11||14.70%||$2,656,036|
|Edith Cowan University||30||3||10.00%||$523,801|
|Howard Florey Institute||3||1||50.00%||$240,000|
|James Cook University||32||6||20.00%||$1,518,500|
|La Trobe University||97||24||25.30%||$4,813,943|
|Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research||3||2||66.70%||$305,035|
|Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute||1||0||0.00%|
|Melbourne College of Divinity||1||0||0.00%|
|Museum of Western Australia||1||0||0.00%|
|Northern Territory University||4||2||50.00%||$565,000|
|Queensland Institute of Medical Research||4||3||75.00%||$540,000|
|Queensland University of Technology||72||13||18.30%||$2,823,004|
|South Australian Museum||3||2||66.70%||$470,000|
|Southern Cross University||11||1||10.00%||$203,000|
|St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research (SVIMR)||1||0||0.00%|
|Swinburne University of Technology||49||10||21.30%||$1,637,640|
|The Australian National University||380||137||36.40%||$40,632,040|
|The Bionic Ear Institute||1||0||0.00%|
|The Flinders University of South Australia||48||10||20.80%||$1,984,000|
|The Heart Research Institute||3||0||0.00%|
|The University of Adelaide||158||36||22.80%||$8,255,381|
|The University of Melbourne||357||104||29.40%||$25,852,783|
|The University of New England||48||9||19.10%||$2,341,615|
|The University of New South Wales||289||81||28.10%||$19,506,294|
|The University of Newcastle||81||22||27.20%||$4,703,008|
|The University of Queensland||292||81||28.00%||$19,761,472|
|The University of Sydney||301||98||32.60%||$28,151,268|
|The University of Western Australia||155||46||30.10%||$14,286,195|
|University of Ballarat||16||3||18.80%||$617,035|
|University of Canberra||11||2||18.20%||$235,000|
|University of South Australia||43||13||30.20%||$2,631,529|
|University of Southern Queensland||22||3||13.60%||$763,559|
|University of Tasmania||76||22||29.30%||$5,041,937|
|University of Technology, Sydney||71||13||18.30%||$3,185,000|
|University of the Sunshine Coast||3||0||0.00%|
|University of Western Sydney||39||4||10.30%||$793,035|
|University of Wollongong||75||14||18.70%||$2,958,855|
|Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute||4||2||50.00%||$480,000|
|Victoria University of Technology||28||1||3.60%||$315,455|
|VPS Research Pty Ltd||1||0||0.00%|
|Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research||5||1||20.00%||$193,035|