Linkage, Grant writing, Assessors, Eligibility, 2018 Calendar
The University of Newcastle
22 August 2017
Professor Stephen Buckman

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Commonwealth Investment in R&D 2016–17 (%)

Commonwealth Investment in R&D 2016–17 (%)

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

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National Competitive Grants Program

National Competitive Grants Program

Graphical representation of schemes in the ARC's National Competitive Grants Program. Each scheme is a rectangle with the area of the rectangle representing  ARC funding (new and ongoing projects) for 2016.

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ARC NCGP funding by scheme 2009–2016

 ARC NCGP funding by scheme 2009–2016

Stacked area chart showing ARC funding by scheme through the years 2009–2016 (New and ongoing). Discovery Projects makes up the largest component. 

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So you want to engage in research with industry?

  • Linkage Projects: $50K$300K per year/25 years: 
    Application timing—Continuous
  • Industrial Transformation Research Program
    • Training Centres: up to $1m per year/5 years
    • Research Hubs: up to $1m per year/5 years
    • Application timing—Annual
  • Centres of Excellence: up to $5m per year/7 years:
    Application timing—3-years

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Linkage Projects

The Linkage Projects scheme provides funding to Eligible Organisations to support research and development (R&D) projects which:

  • are collaborative between higher education researchers and other parts of the national innovation system
  • are undertaken to acquire new knowledge, and
  • involve risk or innovation.

Proposals for funding under the Linkage Projects scheme must include at least one Partner Organisation. The Partner Organisation must make a contribution in cash and/or in kind to the project. The combined Partner Organisation contributions for a Proposal (i.e. the total of the cash and in-kind contributions of the Partner Organisations) must at least match the total funding requested from the ARC.


The objectives of the Linkage Projects scheme are to:

  1. support the initiation and/or development of long-term strategic research alliances between higher education organisations and other organisations, including industry and other research end-users, in order to apply advanced knowledge to problems and/or to provide opportunities to obtain national economic, commercial, social or cultural benefits
  2. provide opportunities for internationally competitive research projects to be conducted in collaboration with organisations outside the higher education sector, targeting those who have demonstrated a clear commitment to high-quality research
  3. encourage growth of a national pool of world-class researchers to meet the needs of the broader Australian innovation system
  4. build the scale and focus of research in the national Science and Research Priorities.

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Continuous Linkage Projects

  • Since 1 July 2016, applications for the Linkage Projects scheme can be submitted at any time
  • The continuous application cycle will allow a closer connection between proposal submission and outcome announcement (Within 6-months)
  • This helps industry and business to collaborate more readily on high quality proposals, and should assist in boosting the commercial returns of publicly-funded research
  • Following a rigorous assessment process high-quality proposals will be expedited to the Minister for decision.

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Linkage Projects—return and success rates

Linkage Projects—return and success rates

Linkage Projects (LP) scheme return and success rates 2009–2016. 

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Comparison of Linkage Projects success rates between female and male participants from 2010 to 2016

Comparison of Linkage Projects success rates between female and male participants from 2010 to 2016. 

Source: LP Selection Report 2016, Figure 2.

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“Exempt organisations” excerpt funding rules 2017

  • Exempt Non-Profit Organisation means an organisation which meets the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) definition of a non-profit organisation – an organisation that does not operate for the profit or gain of its individual members, either directly or indirectly. This applies both while the organisation is operating and when it winds up. This definition is available on the ATO website.
  • NEW! Exempt Small Business means an organisation which has fewer than twenty full-time employees.
  • Exempt Start-up means a company that is commercialising research and development (R&D) activities and has an average annual revenue over the previous two years of income that does not exceed $5 million per year. The start-up must have a majority of its employees (by number) and assets (by value) inside Australia.

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Continuous Linkage Projects

 

  • Since 1 July 2016, applications for the Linkage Projects scheme can be submitted at any time. 
  • The continuous application cycle will allow a closer connection between proposal submission and outcome announcement. (Within 6-months)
  • This helps industry and business to collaborate more readily on high quality proposals, and should assist in boosting the commercial returns of publicly-funded research. 
  • Following a rigorous assessment process high-quality proposals will be expedited to the Minister for decision.

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Continuous LP16 Statistics

  • The Linkage Projects scheme opened for continuous submission and assessment of proposals from 1 July 2016.
  • 225 proposals were received from 1 July to 22 December 2016.
  • 89 projects were funded, with a success rate of 39.6% and a return rate of 76.9%.
  • The 89 funded projects were announced over five dates:
    • 30 January 2017—4 proposals
    • 24 February 2017—11 proposals
    • 5 April 2017—3 proposals
    • 5 May 2017—10 proposals 
    • 31 May 2017—61 proposals
  • Partner Organisations contributed $1.71 for every dollar funded by the ARC. 
  • 65.6% of these contributions were from industry-based Partner Organisations, and the remainder were from government, non-profit, higher education and other sources.

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Continuous LP17

  • LP17 is open for submissions 23 December 2016 to 19 December 2017.
  • The first two funded projects were announced on 24 July 2017.

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Continuous Linkage—Assessment

  • Selection Advisory Committee (SAC)
    • Interdisciplinary
    • Drawn from College of Experts
  • Assessment of proposals
    • 3 General Assessors (Carriages)from SAC
    • 2-6 Detailed Assessors 
    • Rejoinders to detailed reports
    • Proposals “fast-tracked”
  • Fast Tracking
    • Two “thresholds”
    • Score above high threshold
      • recommendation to fund
    • Score below low threshold
      • recommendation not to fund
  • Selection Meeting
    • Proposals with scores between thresholds plus any others flagged for discussion
  • Selection Meetings
    • Videoconference
    • All Carriage 1’s attend
    • Independent Chair.

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Industrial Transformation Research Program

The Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP) encourages and supports university-based researchers and industry to work together to find solutions to a range of issues facing Australian industries.

The Program consists of two schemes: 

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Industrial Transformation Training Centres (ITTC)

To foster close partnerships between university-based researchers and industry to provide innovative training for early career researchers vital to Australia’s future industry.

Over the life of the program the ARC will:

  • establish 50 Training Centres nationwide
  • support 10 “industry ready” Higher Degree by Research candidates and postdoctoral researchers in each Training Centre
  • provide up to $1 million per year for up to five (5) years for each Training Centre.

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Industrial Transformation Research Hubs (ITRH)

Opportunities for universities and industrial partners to focus on significant collaborative R&D projects with outcomes beyond their independent endeavours.

The ARC will invest up to $1 million per year in each Research Hub with matching investment by industry partners up to a maximum of five years.


The objectives of the Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme are to: 

  • encourage collaborative research and development (R&D) projects between universities and organisations outside the Australian higher education sector that will solve challenging industry issues relevant to the Industrial Transformation Priorities
  • drive growth, productivity and competitiveness within key growth sectors
  • leverage national and international investment in targeted industry sectors, including from industry and other research end-users.

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ITRP Key statistics—through 2016

  • Industrial Transformation Research Hubs first commenced in 2012
  • Industrial Transformation Training Centres first commenced in 2013
  • 23 Industrial Transformation Research Hubs 
  • 22 Industrial Transformation Training Centres
  • 286 Partner Organisations on ITRP
  • 71 Other Organisations on ITRP
  • 252 Variations submitted for ITRP since RMS 
  • 20 Variations to defer commencement of ITRP Project.

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ITRP Hubs and Centres Success Rates

Industrial Transformation Research Program Hubs and Centres Success Rates for 2012–2017 (all rounds).

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Outcomes

  • Cultural change
  • Students and Post docs—2-way exposure to industry
  • Valued alternative careers for Phd graduates and PDFs
  • Increased innovation in industry.

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Example—Priority manufacturing 2012–15

Agents of change: transforming the food industry for Australia, Asia and beyond

Fitzgerald, Prof Melissa

The University of Queensland

ARC Training Centre for Portable Analytical Separation Technologies

Hilder, Prof Emily

University of Tasmania

Pathways to market: transforming food industry futures through improved sensing, provenance and choice

Tamplin, Prof Mark

University of Tasmania

Unlocking the food value chain: Australian food industry transformation for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) markets

Dunshea, Prof Frank

The University of Melbourne

ARC Research Hub for Transforming Australia’s Manufacturing Industry through High Value Additive Manufacturing

Wu, Prof Xinhua

Monash University

ARC Research Hub for BioProcessing Advanced Manufacturing

Garnier, Prof Gil

Monash University

ARC Research Hub for Australian Steel Manufacturing

Gregory, Mr Oscar

University of Wollongong

ARC Research Hub for transforming waste directly in cost-effective green manufacturing

Sahajwalla, Prof Veena

The University of New South Wales

ARC Research Hub for a World-class Future Fibre Industry

Prof Xungai Wang

Deakin University

ARC Training Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing

Prof Priyan Mendis

The University of Melbourne

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Investment through ITRP 2012–15 in Manufacturing = $117,575,819

Investment through ITRP 2012-15 in Manufacturing = $117,575,819

Bar graph showing investment through ITRP for the year 2012 to 2015 in Manufacturing.

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Industrial Transformation Research Program: Looking ahead

  • The Industrial Transformation Priorities are priority research areas identified by the ARC which will be updated from round to round.
  • The priorities for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding commencing in 2017 and Industrial Transformation Training Centres for funding commencing in 2017 are:
    • Advanced Manufacturing
    • Food and Agribusiness
    • Oil, Gas and Energy Resources
    • Mining Equipment, Technology and Services
    • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
    • Cyber Security

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Insights into grants process 

  • Pay attention to eligibility and ARC cross-scheme limits
  • Address every scheme objective and selection criteria
  • Choose Field of Research Codes carefully: they assist ARC in selecting the right assessors—three x 6-digit FoR codes
  • Write for assessors (College of Experts members) who will be outside your discipline
  • Write in plain English
  • Understand the research field and international context. Develop your ideas to solve a research problem 
  • Network with leaders in the field 
  • Seek mentors in your field and beyond
  • Don’t over-inflate authorship claims but don’t undersell yourself either 
  • Career interruptions—making a case for ROPE
  • Spend some time on the rejoinder.

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Responding to an assessment/rejoinder

  • Read the assessments then wait at least a day before starting the rejoinder
  • Approach it constructively
  • The rejoinder is to help College of Experts to seek applicant’s views on criticisms made by peers
  • Don’t get angry at the assessor—you’re wasting valuable space to address important concerns.

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What are assessors seeking in an application?

  • Compelling Project Description
  • Sound Methodology
  • Strong performance evidence, closely aligned with the Project
  • Increasingly a robust Budget Justification
  • In the case of Linkage Grants, evidence of strong support from partner organisation.

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Low ranked proposals

  • Use too much technical jargon
  • Make grandiose and implausible claims about outcomes
  • Don't support claims of excellence or progress with evidence
  • Are weakly linked into national and international research networks
  • Emphasise the collection of data rather than the solution of controversies
  • Set a negative or depressive tone about the state of the subject in Australia
  • Relate to research areas without momentum
  • Are badly structured and difficult to follow
  • Contain a high rate of spelling and grammatical errors.

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ARC Assessors

  • We encourage every active researcher to become an assessor for the ARC.
  • If you are not currently an assessor for the ARC and would like to become one then send:
    • a brief CV
    • list of five recent publications
    • or a web link to this information
  • to ARCAssessorUpdate@arc.gov.au.

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RMS profile example

Expertise Text

  • My major area of research expertise is in x,y,z.
  • I also have experience in research a, b, c.
  • I would also be able to assess in the areas of blah blah.

Classifications

  • 6-10 x 6-digit FOR codes.

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How do I provide a good Detailed assessment?

  • Objective comments
  • Detailed comments (one or two sentences are rarely sufficient)
  • Sufficient information to allow applicants to provide a rejoinder to your comments
  • Comments match scores—for example, if you have given significant criticisms an “A” rating is unlikely to be appropriate.
  • Observe conflict of interest rules and declare anything you are concerned about to the ARC.

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What not to do

Investigator(s)
“I have serious doubts about the lead CI’s ability to deliver this project. I was unfortunate to collaborate with him on a number of publications in recent years, and partnered on an ill-fated DP proposal last year which fell apart due to his overbearing and tendentious manner. If this is how he behaves towards other researchers it is unlikely he will be able to bring this project, which requires extensive collaboration across institutions, to fruition.”

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What’s in it for me?
Assessor history/performance 

  • Improve own grant writing
  • Increased visibility into research activity
  • Service to the sector
  • Contractual obligation for grantees.

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Presentation slide header

NEW Peer Review section on the ARC website

Designed to support our 20,000 strong assessor community. 

Peer Review section

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Funding Rule Changes—Current thinking

  • Revised term of ‘Active Project’ for eligibility purposes to extend the eligibility assessment date for all schemes by six months by using an Active Project Assessment Date
  • Updated Request Not to Assess process to require justification to be provided when nominating a College of Experts member
  • Adjusted eligibility for Future Fellowship Candidates to allow three (rather than two) Proposals to be submitted over the period in which they are eligible.
  • Adjusted Selection Criteria weightings for DECRA and Discovery Indigenous to be consistent across Fellowships/Awards and Project-based schemes. Fellowship/Award schemes have a higher weighting for the Individual researcher and Project-based schemes have a higher weighting for the Project.

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Key upcoming dates

Please refer to the Important Dates page.

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