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What is ERA?

  • ERA measures the quality of research produced by Australian universities against world standards.
  • ERA uses expert review of a broad range of indicators of research quality (both quantitative and qualitative) to provide ratings of discipline areas in each university (referred to as Units of Evaluation or UoEs).
  • Discipline areas are defined by the Australian and New Zealand Research Classification (ANZSRC) for broad Fields of Research (FoR) (i.e. two-digit FoR codes, for example, 02 Physical Sciences) and the specific Fields of Research (i.e. four-digit FoR codes, for example 0206 Quantum Physics).
  • In ERA 2015 there were UoEs assessed in 142 four-digit disciplines (out of a possible 157), and all 22 
    two-digit disciplines.
  • In order to determine the ratings, committees of experts (referred to as Research Evaluation Committees (RECs) review the information submitted by universities through an extensive process conducted from June through October 2015. The ARC appointed 155 REC members and over 1300 peer reviewers to conduct the ERA 2015 evaluation.
  • The ERA expert committees provide ratings for each UoE on a five point scale ranging from 1—well below world standard, through 3—at world standard and 5—well above world standard (see table below).

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ERA 2015 Outcomes

  • ERA 2015 outcomes show that Australia’s universities continue to produce high-quality research across a wide range of disciplines.
  • The overall research quality is improving and reflects the role that ERA plays in focussing universities on research quality. Of the UoEs assessed in both ERA 2015 and the previous round, ERA 2012, 56 per cent of these maintained the same rating, while 29% improved their rating by one. The ERA results show an extraordinary breadth of outstanding research performance in Australia.
  • The disciplines in which Australia has a particular strength are listed in the key statistics below. Consistent with the strong overall improvement of research quality, the number of Australian disciplinary strengths has increased from the previous ERA rounds.
  • There was  steady growth in Australia’s university research activity between the ERA 2012 and ERA 2015 rounds, including increases in:
    • the total number of assessed UoEs, up 6% to 2460
    • the number of research outputs submitted, up 5% to 432 747
    • the number of research staff submitted, up 11% to 67 579
    • total number of patents, up 20% to 936.

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Key Statistics

The following tables present the key statistics from ERA 2015 including relevant changes from previous ERA rounds.

Comparison of ERA 2015 data with ERA 2012 data (% change 2012/15)

No of Units of Evaluation (UoEs)

Number of Outputs

Total HERDC income
(Cat 1, 2 ,3 ,4)

HERDC Cat 1 income (ACG)

HERDC Cat 2 income (OPS)

Esteem

Number of Patents

Number of FTE (incl 'other' non academic)

Headcount of salaried and non-salaried research staff

+6%

+5%

+13%

+28%

+8%

+10%

+20%

+4%

+11%

Unique Research Outputs Submitted

Research output type

ERA 2015

Books

5,488

Book Chapters

45,269

Conference Publications

69,610

Journal Articles

301,499

Curated Exhibitions

753

Live Performances

913

Original Creative Works

5,244

Recorded and Rendered Works

727

Research Report for External Body

2,453

Portfolio of Non-Traditional Research Output

791

Total

432,747

Total Researchers submitted

 

FTE

Headcount

ERA 2015

43,582

67,579

ERA 2012

41,774

60,668

ERA 2010

39,668

55,842

Research Income by Categories

Income category

ERA 2010

ERA 2012

ERA 2015

CAT1:  Australian Competitive Grants

   3,185,991,970

      3,752,484,731

4,821,070,738

CAT2: Other Public Sector Research Income

1,909,803,215

2,385,947,220

2,572,103,175

CAT3: Industry and Other Research Income

 

 

 

            CAT3i: Australian

   1,515,456,936

1,589,167,765

1,606,335,280

            CAT3ii: International A

       198,987,195

208,272,532

246,740,222

            CAT 3iii: International B

       354,471,524

459,656,183

325,358,856

CAT 4: Cooperative Research Centre Research Income

       381,375,340

372,196,639

328,642,028

Total

7,546,086,180

8,767,725,070

9,900,250,299

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ERA Rating Scale

ERA utilises a five-point rating scale ranging from 1 through to 5. The rating scale is broadly consistent with the approach taken in research evaluation processes in other countries to allow for international comparison.

Rating

Descriptor

5

The Unit of Evaluation profile is characterised by evidence of outstanding performance well above world standard presented by the suite of indicators used for evaluation.

4

The Unit of Evaluation profile is characterised by evidence of performance above world standard presented by the suite of indicators used for evaluation.

3

The Unit of Evaluation profile is characterised by evidence of average performance at world standard presented by the suite of indicators used for evaluation.

2

The Unit of Evaluation profile is characterised by evidence of performance below world standard presented by the suite of indicators used for evaluation.

1

The Unit of Evaluation profile is characterised by evidence of performance well below world standard presented by the suite of indicators used for evaluation.

Please note: The tables show the ratings for assessed UoEs. The UoE must meet the relevant low volume threshold for assessment to occur. Where the institution did not meet the low volume threshold, ‘n/a’ (i.e. not assessed) is shown in the table. In some cases UoEs were not rated (‘n/r’) by the Research Evaluation Committee due to coding issues.

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Australia’s National Research Strengths

This is defined as Specific disciplines (four-digit FoRs) 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. This is consistent with the method used for previous rounds.

Mathematical Sciences
0101       Pure Mathematics
0102       Applied Mathematics
0104       Statistics

Physical Sciences
0201       Astronomical and Space Sciences
0204       Condensed Matter Physics
0205       Optical Physics

Chemical Sciences
0301       Analytical Chemistry
0302       Inorganic Chemistry
0303       Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry
0306       Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural)

Earth Sciences
0403       Geology
0406       Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience 

Environmental Sciences
0501       Ecological Applications
0502       Environmental Science and Management
0503       Soil Sciences 

Biological Sciences
0602       Ecology
0604       Genetics
0607       Plant Biology
0608       Zoology 

Engineering
0905       Civil Engineering
0906       Electrical and Electronic Engineering
0912       Materials Engineering
0913       Mechanical Engineering 

Medical and Health Sciences
1102       Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology
1103       Clinical Sciences
1106       Human Movement and Sports Science
1107       Immunology
1108       Medical Microbiology
1109       Neurosciences
1110       Nursing
1111       Nutrition and Dietetics
1112       Oncology and Carcinogenesis
1115       Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
1116       Medical Physiology
1117       Public Health and Health Services 

Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
1503       Business and Management 

Studies in Human Society
1606       Political Science 

Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
1701       Psychology

Law and Legal Studies
1801       Law 

Language, Communication and Culture
2002       Cultural Studies
2005       Literary Studies 

History and Archaeology
2103       Historical Studies 

Philosophy and Religious Studies
2203       Philosophy

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