26 March 2013

ERA 2012 National Report


The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2012 National Report was released late last year showing encouraging results across the university sector and achievement at world standard and above world standard.

ERA is an assessment system that evaluates the quality of the research conducted at Australian universities by discipline.

It identifies the research strengths of individual universities and of the sector as a whole. It also highlights disciplines where there are opportunities to develop the research capacities of Australian universities.

ARC CEO, Professor Aidan Byrne, said the release of the 2012 national report marked the conclusion of the second comprehensive review of research at Australian universities.

“With the completion of two rounds of ERA evaluations, we are now able to track the achievements of the sector—both over time and relative to world standards.

“Compiling data for ERA evaluation is a big job for our universities and the ARC, and their great efforts in ensuring their data is submitted for assessment, does not go unnoticed.

“While the primary purpose of ERA is to identify research quality and assure Australians their investment in research is being spent wisely, ERA data also provides other valuable information about the research activities of universities.

“Future iterations of ERA will provide additional opportunities to extend ERA’s reach, particularly in relation to indicators of research application, knowledge transfer and collaboration.

“The ARC will continue to work with universities to ensure that ERA remains a dynamic and flexible system of research evaluation—one that can fully capture the critical contribution university research makes to the Australian innovation system,” Professor Byrne said.

The next round of ERA will take place in 2015.

The ARC has commenced planning for this third round of ERA and is already extensively consulting with the university and research sector; ARC representatives are visiting universities to assist and answer queries where they can.

As part of the consultation process, the Australian Government has asked the ARC and the Department of Innovation, Industry, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education to consult on the inclusion of research impact measures.

The ARC is seeking the views of the research sector and other interested communities for this process.

For more information on ERA or to contribute please visit the ARC website.

What did the 2012 national report tell us?

  • confirmed that Australian universities compete with the world’s best in a wide range of fundamental 
    and applied disciplines
  • the ratings achieved by Australian universities were higher overall in ERA 2012 than in 
    ERA 2010, and the range of fields of research assessed was wider
  • confirmed a significant increase in the number of publications and other research outputs
    from our universities, as well as growth in the employment of research staff and the 
    registering of patents
  • There has been a significant increase in the number of National Strengths—a national 
    strength is a specific discipline where ten or more Australian universities were rated at
    above world standard or higher, including four or more Australian universities rated at 
    well above world standard—from 2010 to 2012—our national strengths are in:
    • Astronomical and Space Sciences
    • Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry
    • Geology
    • Environmental Science and Management
    • Ecology
    • Evolutionary Biology
    • Plant Biology
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    • Materials Engineering
    • Clinical Sciences
    • Human Movement and Sports Science
    • Immunology
    • Medical Microbiology
    • Nursing
    • Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    • Medical Physiology
    • Psychology
    • Law
    • Cultural Studies
    • Historical Studies.


What information was submitted?
ERA 2012, included:

  • 413,477 publications and other research outputs
  • 60,668 salaried and non-salaried researchers and related staff
  • more than $8 billion of external research income
  • 781 patents
  • over 1000 leading researchers from Australia and abroad participated in the assessment 
    process as evaluation committee members or peer reviewers.