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Federation Fellowships
Selection Report for Funding commencing in 2007

Objectives

The Federation Fellowships were a major initiative arising from the Government's January 2001 statement Backing Australia's Ability: an innovation action plan for the future.

The objectives of the Federation Fellowships scheme are to:

  1. attract and retain outstanding researchers of international renown;
  2. build and strengthen world-class research capability in Australia;
  3. expand Australia's knowledge base by supporting ground-breaking, internationally competitive research;
  4. forge strong links among researchers, industry and the international research community; and
  5. support research that will result in economic, environmental, social or cultural benefits for Australia.

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Selection Process

Proposals were assessed by an ARC Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) chaired by an outstanding overseas researcher. The SAC was informed and advised by assessments provided by readers who had relevant expertise. These readers were members of the ARC's College of Experts, Australian Readers and International Readers. Fellowship candidates were also able to submit two reports from external referees.

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Selection Criteria

The selection criteria for Federation Fellowships are:

  • investigator (50%);
  • project/program of research activity (30%); and
  • national benefit (20%).

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Summary of Outcomes

The Federation Fellowships Funding Rules (for funding commencing in 2007) allow for a maximum number of 25 Federation Fellowships to be awarded in this funding round. A total of 129 proposals were submitted to the ARC. The following overview summarises the characteristics of the considered proposals and the approved Federation Fellows.

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Attracting and Retaining Outstanding Researchers

Proposals were open to Eligible Organisations to nominate Federation Fellowship candidates who are outstanding researchers of international renown, resident either within Australia or overseas. The Federation Fellowships Funding Rules (for funding commencing in 2007) allow for a maximum of five foreign nationals to be awarded a Federation Fellowship in this funding round.

Federation Fellows are able to re-apply for a Federation Fellowship during the fourth or fifth year of their current Federation Fellowship. Eight existing Federation Fellows are approved for funding.

Of the 129 proposals considered, 21 (16%) were for Australians intending to return to Australia and, of these, one is approved for funding. Eighteen (14%) were for foreign nationals and, of these, two proposals are approved for funding. Ninety (70%) proposals were for resident Australians, of which 17 are approved for Federation Fellowships. Of these 17, three existing Fellows had returned to Australia in a preceding round.

Apart from the two foreign nationals, 11 of the remaining 18 approved Fellows obtained their PhDs outside Australia. Of the seven who obtained their PhDs in Australia, four are second-time Federation Fellows.

The following table shows the citizenship and residency status of Fellowship candidates and approved Fellows.

Table 1: Citizenship and residency status - current and previous rounds

  Commencing in 2006-07 Commencing in 2007-08
Citizenship/ residency status
% of
considered proposals
% of approved proposals
No. of considered proposals
% of considered proposals
No. of approved proposals
% of approved proposals
Returning Australians
21%
20%
21
16%
1
5%
Foreign Nationals
12%
8%
18
14%
2
10%
Resident Australians
67%
72%
90
70%
17
85%
TOTAL
100%
100%
129
100%
20
100%

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Approved Fellows: Returning Australians

There is one Fellowship candidate approved for funding in this category.

Table 2: Returning Australian approved for funding - Current Organisation and Administering Organisation

Fellowship candidate
Current Organisation
Administering Organisation
A/Prof T Gherghetta
University of Minnesota
The University of Melbourne

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Approved Fellows: Foreign Nationals

There are two Fellowship candidates approved for funding in this category.

Table 3: Foreign nationals approved for funding – Citizenship, Current Organisation and Administering Organisation

Fellowship candidate
Country of citizenship
Current Organisation
Administering Organisation
Prof J Hodges
United Kingdom
Medical Research Council U.K.
The University of New South Wales
Prof H Niemann
Germany
Institut fur Tierzucht Mariensee
The University of Adelaide

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Approved Fellows: Resident Australians

There are 17 Fellowship candidates approved for funding in this category.

Table 4: Resident Australians approved for funding - Current Organisation and Administering Organisation

Fellowship candidate
Current Organisation
Administering Organisation
Dr J Bland-Hawthorn
Anglo-Australian Observatory
The University of Sydney
Prof F Caruso*
The University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne
Prof R Clark*
The University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales
Prof H Durrant-Whyte*
The University of Sydney
The University of Sydney
Prof B Eggleton*
The University of Sydney
The University of Sydney
Dr W Heath
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
The University of Melbourne
Prof Y Kivshar*
The Australian National University
The Australian National University
Prof P Koopman
The University of Queensland
The University of Queensland
Prof D MacFarlane
Monash University
Monash University
Prof B McSherry
Monash University
Monash University
Prof G Milburn*
The University of Queensland
The University of Queensland
Prof D Pannell
The University of Western Australia
The University of Western Australia
Prof I Petersen
The University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales
Prof C Praeger
The University of Western Australia
The University of Western Australia
Prof H Price*
The University of Sydney
The University of Sydney
Prof J Quiggin*
The University of Queensland
The University of Queensland
Dr P Waterhouse
CSIRO Plant Industry
The University of Sydney

* Existing Federation Fellows who have received a second Federation Fellowship in this funding round

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Administering Organisation

The Administering Organisations of the 20 proposals approved for funding are:

Monash University (2)
The Australian National University (1)
The University of Adelaide (1)
The University of Melbourne (3)
The University of New South Wales (3)
The University of Queensland (3)
The University of Sydney (5)
The University of Western Australia (2)

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National Research Priorities

Of the 20 approved Fellowships, 19 nominated their research proposal as falling under an area of National Research Priority with total funding approved over five years as follows:

  • An Environmentally Sustainable Australia (2): $3,212,420
  • Promoting and Maintaining Good Health (3): $5,607,214
  • Frontier Technologies for Building and Transforming Australian Industries (14): $24,050,165.

One proposal did not nominate a National Research priority.

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Disciplines

Although a number of proposals lie squarely within particular discipline groupings, many overlap with two or three of the discipline groupings. In broad terms, the following table summarises the distribution of proposals within disciplines.

Table 5: Disciplines of all proposals - current and previous rounds   

  Commencing in 2006-07 Commencing in 2007-08
Disciplines *
% of
considered proposals
% of
approved proposals
No. of
considered proposals
% of
considered proposals
No. of
approved proposals
% of
approved proposals
BSB
20%
24%
31
24%
4
20%
EE
15%
12%
19
15%
2
10%
HCA
13%
16%
11
9%
2
10%
MIC
16%
16%
20
15%
3
15%
PCG
27%
24%
34
26%
6
30%
SBE
9%
8%
14
11%
3
15%
TOTAL
100%
100%
129
100%
20
100%

* BSB = Biological Sciences and Biotechnology; EE = Engineering and Environmental Sciences; HCA = Humanities and Creative Arts; MIC = Mathematics, Information and Communication Sciences; PCG = Physics, Chemistry and Geoscience; SBE = Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences

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Stage in Career

Consistent with the scheme's objectives, the ARC encourages proposals from early- to mid-career researchers who will play a leadership role in building Australia's internationally competitive research capacity. As shown in Table 6, 33% of Fellowship candidates were within 15 years of the award of their PhD. Of the approved Fellows, 25% are within 15 years of the award of their PhD.

Table 6: Years since the award of PhD - current and previous rounds

  Commencing in 2006-07 Commencing in 2007-08
Years since award of PhD
% of
considered
proposals
% of
approved
proposals
No. of
considered
proposals
% of
considered
proposals
No. of
approved
proposals
% of
approved
proposals
0-15 years
34%
28%
42
33%
5
25%
16-20 years
23%
20%
35
27%
5
25%
21/+ years
40%
48%
50
39%
10
50%
No PhD
2%
4%
2
1%
0
0%
TOTAL
100%
100%
129
100%
20
100%

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Age and Gender

As Table 7 shows, there are 13 Fellowships awarded to researchers under the age of 50.

Table 7: Age distribution of Fellowship candidates - current and previous rounds

  Commencing in 2006-07 Commencing in 2007-08
Age cohort
% of
considered proposals
% of
approved proposals
No. of
considered proposals
% of
considered proposals
No. of
approved proposals
% of
approved proposals
<40 years
13%
16%
16
13%
2
10%
40-49 years
48%
56%
63
49%
11
55%
50-59 years
33%
28%
43
33%
7
35%
60 / + years
6%
0%
7
5%
0
0%
TOTAL
100%
100%
129
100%
20
100%

Of the 129 Fellowship candidates, 16 (12%) were female; of the 20 approved Fellows, 2 (10%) are female.

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Start-up Project Funding

In addition to salary support, Federation Fellows may be eligible for Start-up Project Funding, to a maximum of $400,000 over two years in cases where the candidate was not recently eligible to be a Chief Investigator under the ARC’s Discovery Projects or Linkage Projects schemes. This support is to assist researchers who are coming from overseas or who are working in a research environment that is not usually eligible to be funded by the ARC.

Of the 20 successful proposals, 6 requested Start-up Project Funding. A total of $2,351,809 over two years is approved in addition to salary support for the Fellowships. 

Table 8 shows the approved Fellows that requested Start-up Project Funding and the amount approved.

Table 8: Approved Start-up Project Funding by Federation Fellow and year

Federation Fellow
2007-08
2008-09
Total
Dr J Bland-Hawthorn
$198,900
$200,000
$398,900
A/Prof T Gherghetta
$195,575
$169,650
$365,225
Dr W Heath
$191,114
$198,420
$389,534
Prof J Hodges
$204,813
$194,237
$399,050
Dr H Niemann
$199,100
$200,000
$399,100
Dr P Waterhouse
$273,447
$126,553
$400,000
TOTAL
$1,262,949
$1,088,860
$2,351,809

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Total Scheme Budget

Subject to the provisions of the ARC Act, the following budgets have been allocated for Federation Fellowships (for funding commencing in 2007). The total budget for years 2007-08 and 2008-09 includes the Start-up Project Funding for approved Fellowships.

Table 9: Total scheme budget by year

Budget item
2007-08
2008-09
2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
TOTAL
Salary support
$6,424,840
$6,424,840
$6,424,840
$6,424,840
$6,424,840
$32,124,200
Start-up project funding
$1,262,949
$1,088,860
$2,351,809
TOTAL
$7,687,789
$7,513,700
$6,424,840
$6,424,840
$6,424,840
$34,476,009
Content Last Modified:

22/5/07


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