Skip to Specific Areas

Search ARC website

Site Navigation

Main Content

Breadcrumb Navigation

You are here:

ARC Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre for funding commencing in 2012

Overview

Special Research Initiatives are established to address specific research priorities and/or to build capacity in strategically important areas. A key initiative recommended by the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council Expert Working Group's report, Transforming Learning and Transmission of Knowledge (2009), the Science of Learning Research Centre is a new initiative under the ARC's Special Research Initiatives scheme to establish a national collaborative centre to investigate the complex issues of the learning process.

The centre will bring together education professionals and high quality researchers in areas ranging from neuroscience and cognitive development through to pedagogy and educational technology. The research undertaken through the centre will aim to identify new teaching practices that are based on solid scientific evidence.

The centre is tasked with exploring innovative opportunities for research to address a range of issues relating to Indigenous learners, learners in regional and remote locations, and learners from diverse backgrounds as well as the role of digital technology in education. Integral to the centre's activities will be translation of the learning process through collaboration with live educational settings.

The centre will be led by experienced researchers in higher education institutions with strong credentials in coordinating team-based cross-disciplinary projects. The centre will develop and explore innovative opportunities for research and translation of the learning process, bringing cultural, social and environmental benefits to all Australians.

The centre will provide scale and focus for research in learning processes with a strong collaborative governance framework. This structure will support and encourage participants to commit to broader strategic objectives producing outcomes not independently obtainable.

[top]

 

Objectives

As indicated in the Funding Rules for this Initiative, the specific objective for the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre is the delivery of a program of activities that develop a strong evidence base for learning processes to inform teaching practices. The centre will:

  • undertake highly innovative and internationally competitive research with a strategic focus on learning processes;
  • build critical mass through significant cross-disciplinary collaboration, which may range from neuroscience and cognitive development to pedagogy and education technology, including development of national and international partnerships and linkages with leading researchers, institutions, educational professionals and educational groups;
  • build Australia's research capacity by attracting researchers of a high international standing, as well as the most promising research students;
  • strengthen capability by providing high-quality postgraduate and postdoctoral training environments for the next generation of researchers;
  • engage with stakeholders and live educational settings to identify and explore opportunities for translation and development of research in learning processes that will deliver benefits to Australia;
  • address issues relating to Indigenous learners, learners in regional and remote locations, and learners from underprivileged backgrounds;
  • address the role and integration of digital technology as a learning tool; and
  • facilitate the transfer of knowledge through public education of the outcomes of learning processes research and provide support for policy development.

[top]

 

Selection Process

The selection process was conducted in two phases commencing with a call for proposals that were shortlisted and followed by interviews.

A Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) was assembled, with members nominated on the basis of excellence in research and/or breadth of experience in the national and international research environment, to assess and recommend proposal(s) for funding.

Proposals for the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre opened on 6 August 2012 and closed on 28 September 2012. Two proposals were received.

Proposals were assessed by SAC members and specialist assessors against the selection criteria as listed in the Funding Rules. The two proposals were shortlisted for interview.

Interviews were held on 7 February 2013. The SAC reviewed the proposals against the Selection Criteria and ranked each proposal relative to the other on the basis of the assessor reports and the interview. The SAC prepared recommendations on the proposals, including a recommendation for the program budget.

This report reflects the outcomes of the selection process for the centre.

[top]

 

Selection Criteria

Selection Criteria and corresponding weights for proposals:

  • Investigators       
(30%)
  • Program Quality and Innovation 
(30%)
  • Feasibility and Benefit   
(20%)
  • Governance       
(10%)
  • Research Environment
(10%)

[top]

 

Funding Levels and Duration

The ARC has committed up to $16 million over four years (subject to Parliamentary appropriations) commencing in 2012 for the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre.

[top]

 

Summary of Outcome

A total of two proposals were submitted to the ARC. Following the proposal selection process, one proposal is approved for funding, giving an overall success rate of 50 per cent. Please note that within this Selection Report approved funding may include indicative funding amounts.

Table 1.     Comparison of proposal numbers, funds requested and ARC allocated funds for the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre for funding commencing in 2012


Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre

Proposals Submitted

Proposals Approved

Requested Funds Over Program Life

ARC Funding Allocated Over Program Life (Approved Proposal)

Total

2

1

$31,901,448

$16,000,000

[top]

 

Approved Funding

Table 2.     Approved proposalfor the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre for funding commencing in 2012


Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre

Centre Director

Administering Organisation

Total Approved Funds Over Program Life

The Science of Learning Research Centre

Professor Ottmar Lipp

The University of Queensland

$16,000,000

[top]

 

Collaboration

The Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre was developed with the view that there would be collaboration between university researchers at the Administering Organisation, Collaborating Organisations and Partner Organisations, both within Australia and internationally, as well as with community groups so that the centre would be a truly cross‑disciplinary and cross-professional nationally collaborative centre.

The approved Proposal involves one university as the Administering Organisation and seven Collaborating Organisations including six Australian universities and the Australian Council for Educational Research. The Proposal also involves nine Partner Organisations representing collaborative efforts and professional and community groups. Overall, the proposal involves five Australian states and territories.

Table 3.     ARC funding and cash and in-kind commitments from Contributing Organisations for the approved Proposal for the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre for funding commencing in 2012


Administering Organisation

ARC Approved Funding

Contributing Organisations*

Cash

In-Kind

The University of Queensland

$16,000,000

$4,420,000

$6,819,716

*Contributing Organisations include Administering Organisation, Collaborating Organisations and Partner Organisations.

[top]

 

International Collaboration

International collaboration is a component of the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre. The approved proposal specifies two instances of international collaboration, with the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

[top]

 

Gender

Table 4.     Proportion of male and female Centre Directors considered for the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre for funding commencing in 2012


Centre Director

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Male

2

1

50%

Female

0

0

0

Table 5.     Proportion of male and female researchers (Chief and Partner Investigators) on The University of Queensland Proposal for the Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre for funding commencing in 2012


Special Research Initiative for a Science of Learning Research Centre

Administering Organisation

Male Researchers

Female Researchers

Total Researchers

The Science of Learning Research Centre

The University of Queensland

19

8

27

[top]

 

National Research Priorities

The Australian Government has identified four National Research Priorities and, within these, 21 National Research Priority goals. The approved proposal addresses the National Research Priorities of Frontier Technologies for Building and Transforming Australian Industries.

[top]

 

Content Last Modified: 07/05/13