ARC Centres of Excellence—La Trobe University
1 November 2016
Dr Fiona Cameron

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Commonwealth Investment in R&D 2015–16 (%)

Pie chart showing Commonwealth Investment in R&D 2015–16 ($m):

  • ARC—7.40%
  • NHMRC—8.35%
  • Other Health—2.52%
  • CRCs1—1.49%
  • Rural—3.11%
  • Energy and the Environment—3.06%
  • Other R&D—2.07%
  • CSIRO—7.82%
  • DST Group (formerly DSTO)—4.35%
  • Australian Government other R&D—6.79%
  • Business Innovation and Other R&D—2.02%
  • Industry R&D Tax Measures—31.07%
  • Block Funding—19.61%
  • Higher Education R&D—0.33%

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ARC NCGP funding by scheme 2009–2015

 

Stacked area chart showing ARC funding by scheme 2009–2015 with Discovery Projects being the largest through this period, but significant growth in Future Fellowships.

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ARC Centres of Excellence

  • One of the ARC’s most prestigious schemes
  • Funding focal points of national expertise
  • High quality collaborative research
  • Significant collaboration between universities, publicly funded research agencies, national and international research groups, governments and businesses
  • All fields of research except medicine
  • Highly competitive and international standing

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Objectives

  • Undertake highly innovative and potentially transformational research that aims to achieve international standing in the fields of research envisaged and leads to a significant advancement of capabilities and knowledge
  • Link existing Australian research strengths and build critical mass with new capacity for interdisciplinary, collaborative approaches to address the most challenging and significant research problems
  • Develop relationships and build new networks with major national and international centres and research programs to help strengthen research, achieve global competitiveness and gain recognition for Australian research
  • Build Australia’s human capacity in a range of research areas by attracting and retaining, from within Australia and abroad, researchers of high international standing as well as the most promising research students
  • Provide high-quality postgraduate and postdoctoral training environments for the next generation of researchers
  • Offer Australian researchers opportunities to work on large-scale problems over longer periods of time
  • Establish Centres that have an impact on the wider community through interaction with higher education institutions, governments, industry and the private and non-profit sector

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Selection Criteria (CE17)

  1. Research program—quality and innovation
  2. Investigators
  3. Institutional support
  4. Governance, leadership and mentoring
  5. Outcomes and linkages

For 2017 Expression of Interest considered against two criteria

  • outstanding research program 70%, and
  • excellent investigators 30%
  • Full Proposal considered against all five criteria
  • All criteria equally weighted at 20%

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Addressing the Selection Criteria

An ARC Centre of Excellence is expected to be a national entity

Questions to think about:

  • A truly innovative and collaborative research program, or a collection of DPs?
  • The best, not just nationally but internationally?
  • Are key players involved?
  • What is their involvement?
  • A well thought-out and justified budget?
  • Value for money?
  • Strategic planning for a seven year program and beyond?
  • Functioning of governance and management operations?
  • Skill set required for Advisory Board?
  • Translation of outcomes?
  • Communication and outreach?
  • Gender equity?
  • Development and mentoring at all levels?

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Organisations

Eligible Organisations are Australian universities

  • Administering Organisation
  • Other Eligible Organisations

Partner Organisations are organisations which are not Australian universities

  • Australian and overseas government organisations (incl. publicly funded research agencies)
  • Australian and overseas industry/businesses
  • Australian and overseas NGOs and non-profit organisations
  • Overseas universities

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Named Personnel

Centre Director (CD)

  • employed by Administering Organisation
  • a significant time commitment to Centre >0.7 FTE
  • An outstanding research program leader

Chief Investigator (CI)

  • Employed by Eligible Organisation
  • Minimum time commitment to Centre expected >0.2 FTE
  • Must have capacity to make serious commitment to Centre

Partner Investigator (PI)

  • Not meet eligibility criteria for CIs
  • Must secure contributions (cash, in-kind, other material resources) from Partner Organisation

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Other Personnel

Chief Operations Officer or Centre Manager

  • Not named on proposal
  • Appointed post-award—this position is critical to support leadership
  • ARC funds can pay salary—include as budget line

Associate Investigators

  • May not be able to offer expected commitment to Centre
  • May have specific and valuable expertise
  • ARC funds cannot be used to pay salary

Postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students

  • Not named on proposal
  • ARC funds can pay salaries/stipends/top-ups—include as budget line

Other administrative and technical staff

  • Not named on proposal
  • ARC funds can pay salaries within reason—include as budget line
  • Expectation that participating organisations will contribute to costs of these personnel

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Success rates

  • Success rate for CE17 was 9% (97 EOIs submitted, nine successful projects funded)
  • Success rate for CE14 was 11% (103 EOIs submitted, 12 successful projects funded)
  • Success rate for CE11 was 11% (111 EOIs submitted, 13 successful projects funded)
  • Approximately 80% of EOIs are not shortlisted (i.e. do not progress to full Proposal)
  • Over 50% of full Proposals are not funded

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Centre of Excellence Success Rates

 

Bar chart showing Centre of Excellence Success Rates for the three most recent rounds. Note - two stage process, first EOI, then goes to full proposal. So two success rates shown.

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Centres of Excellence 2017: Success by Discipline

Bar chart showing Centres of Excellence 2017: showing EOIs, Proposals submitted and funded by Discipline group.

BSB = Biological Sciences and Biotechnology; EMI = Engineering, Mathematics and Informatics; HCA = Humanities and Creative Arts; PCE = Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences; SBE = Social, Behavioural and Economics Sciences.

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The Future

  • The ARC anticipates a future round for funding commencing 2020
  • No firm dates as yet
  • Can expect similar timeframe to CE17 (i.e. open for EOIs mid-2018)
  • Start planning now

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Timelines for CE17

  • Funding Rules release—May 2015
  • EOIs open—early June 2015
  • EOIs close—late July 2015
  • EOIs assessed by Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) and international experts
  • Rejoinder—August 2015
  • EOI shortlisting—late September 2015
  • EOI outcomes—early October 2015

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Likely Process for Centres 2020

  • A three-stage process beginning in 2018
    • Expression of Interest (EOI)
    • Full proposal
    • Interview
  • All EOIs and full proposals assessed by multi-disciplinary Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) plus senior international experts
  • Opportunity for applicants to submit rejoinders after each assessment period
  • EOIs shortlisted by SAC
  • All full proposals interviewed by SAC
  • Comprehensive feedback provided to all unsuccessful proposals

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2014 La Trobe Centres of Excellence

La Trobe University is a Partner Organisation in two 2014 Centres of Excellence:

La Trobe personnel:

  • Associate Professor Brian Abbey
  • Professor Keith Nugent

La Trobe personnel:

  • Professor Jim Whelan

La Trobe was also PO on previous centres:

  • ARC Centre of Excellence—Coherent X-ray Science. (2005)
  • Centre for Mathematical and Statistical Modelling of Complex Systems (2003)