Selection Report for Funding Commencing in 2017

 

Overview

 

 

The ARC Centres of Excellence scheme aims to enhance and develop Australia’s research excellence through highly innovative and collaborative research, as well as build Australia’s human capacity in a range of research areas.

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Objectives

As indicated in the Funding Rules for this scheme, the objectives of the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme are to:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. develop relationships and build new networks with major national and international centres and research programmes to help strengthen research, achieve global competitiveness and gain recognition for Australian research
  4. 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
  5. provide high-quality postgraduate and postdoctoral training environments for the next generation of researchers
  6. offer Australian researchers opportunities to work on large-scale problems over longer periods of time
  7. 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 process

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for Centres commencing in 2017 opened on 3 June 2015 and closed on 22 July 2015. Shortlisted EOIs were invited to submit full proposals, which opened on 7 October 2015 and closed on 16 December 2015. EOIs and full proposals were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines recommendations from the selection process.

The ARC has prepared funding recommendations for submission to the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The outcomes were based on advice from a Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) which:

  • assessed EOIs, reviewed assessments made by independent readers and reviewed Applicant’s comments on assessor reports
  • shortlisted EOIs for submission of full proposals
  • assessed full proposals, reviewed assessments made by independent readers and reviewed Applicants’ comments on assessor reports
  • interviewed proposals
  • ranked each proposal relative to the others on the basis of the proposal, the assessor reports, Applicants’ responses to those assessments and interview
  • assessed and recommended budgets

and, advice from the ARC Eligibility Committee which:

  • considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff, the SAC or independent assessors; and
  • where required, sought advice from institutions or at interview with respect to issues raised.

This report reflects the approved recommendations by the Minister.

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Selection criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weighting for EOIs:

  • Research programmequality and innovation (70%)
  • Investigators (30%).

Selection criteria and corresponding weighting for proposals:

  • Research programmequality and innovation (20%)
  • Investigators (20%)
  • Institutional support (20%)
  • Governance, leadership and mentoring (20%)
  • Outcomes and linkages (20%).

The ARC assessment and subsequent reporting process for ARC Centres of Excellence for funding in 2017 used a total of 16 SAC members and was managed in RMS. There was an average of 3.8 independent assessor reports received for proposals.

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Funding levels and duration

Funding of between $1 million and $5 million per annum for up to seven years may be awarded for each ARC Centre of Excellence.

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Approved funding

The ARC received a total of 97 EOIs and invited 20 EOIs to submit full proposals. Of the 20 ARC Centres of Excellence proposals submitted, nine (45%) are approved for funding. This represents an Australian Government commitment of $283.5 million over the life of these Centres.

Table 1:     Numbers of EOIs, proposals and success rates for ARC Centres of Excellence 2017 by discipline panel

Panel*

EOIs considered

EOIs shortlisted

EOI success rate
(%)

Proposals considered

Proposals interviewed

Proposals approved

Proposals success rate

BSB

26

1

3.8%

1

1

0

0%

EMI

21

2

9.5%

2

2

0

0%

HCA

10

1

10%

1

1

1

100%

PCE

23

11

21.7%

11

11

7

63.6%

SBE

17

5

29.4%

5

5

1

20.0%

Total

97

20

20.6%

20

20

9

45%


*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 

Table 2:     Requested and approved funding for ARC Centres of Excellence 2017 by discipline panel

Panel*

Proposals approved

Requested funds over project life (approved proposals)

Approved funds over project life (approved proposals)

Approved funds as % of requested funds

BSB

0

$0

$0

0%

EMI

0

$0

$0

0%

HCA

1

$35,000,000

$33,750,000

96.4%

PCE

7

$241,086,516

$222,500,000

92.3%

SBE

1

$28,432,728

$27,250,000

95.8%

Total

9

$304,519,244

$283,500,000

93.1%

*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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Outcomes by Administering Organisation

Table 3:     Numbers of EOIs and proposals, success rates and ARC approved funding for ARC Centres of Excellence 2017 by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation

EOIs considered

EOIs shortlisted

EOI success rate
(%)

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Proposal success rate
(%)

Approved funds over project life (approved proposals)

Australian Catholic University

1

1

100

1

0

-

-

Bond University

1

0

0

0

0

-

-

Curtin University of Technology

4

0

0

0

0

-

-

Deakin University

2

0

0

0

0

-

-

Griffith University

1

0

0

0

0

-

-

Macquarie University

5

2

40

2

0

-

-

Monash University

5

2

40

2

1

50

$33,400,000

Queensland University of Technology

2

0

0

0

0

-

-

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

2

0

0

0

0

-

-

Swinburne University of Technology

2

1

50

1

1

100

$31,300,000

The Australian National University

9

1

11.1

1

1

100

$30,300,000

The Flinders University of South Australia

1

0

0

0

0

-

-

The University of Adelaide

3

0

0

0

0

-

-

The University of Melbourne

15

2

13.3

2

1

50

$31,850,000

The University of New South Wales

14

4

28.6

4

3

75

$91,000,000

The University of Newcastle

3

1

33.3

1

0

-

-

The University of Queensland

12

2

8.3

2

1

50

$31,900,000

The University of Sydney

9

2

22.2

2

0

-

-

The University of Western Australia

3

0

0

0

0

-

-

University of Tasmania

1

0

0

0

0

-

-

University of Technology, Sydney

1

1

100

1

0

-

-

University of Wollongong

1

1

100

1

1

100

$33,750,000

 

Table 4:     ARCCentres of Excellence 2017 proposals approved for funding

ARC Centres of Excellence Title

Centre Director

Administering Organisation

Total approved funds over project life

ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions

Prof Lisa Kewley

The Australian National University

$30,300,000

ARC Centre of Excellence of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage

Prof Richard Roberts

University of Wollongong

$33,750,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes

Prof Andrew Pitman

The University of New South Wales

$30,050,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems

Prof Andrew White

The University of Queensland

$31,900,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery

Prof Matthew Bailes

Swinburne University of Technology

$31,300,000

ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science

Prof Paul Mulvaney

The University of Melbourne

$31,850,000

ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

Prof Michael Fuhrer

Monash University

$33,400,000

ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research

Prof John Piggott

The University of New South Wales

$27,250,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology

Prof Michelle Simmons

The University of New South Wales

$33,700,000

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Strategic Research Priorities

Table 5:     Approved funding for ARC Centres of Excellence for funding in 2017 by Strategic Research Priority

Strategic Research Priority

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate (%)

Approved funds (over project life)

Lifting productivity and economic growth

12

6

59

$192,450,000

Living in a changing environment

2

2

100

$63,800,000

Promoting population health and wellbeing

4

1

25

$27,250,000

unspecified

1

0

 

 

Total

19

9

47.4

$283,500,000

Total within Strategic Research Priorities

18

9

50

$283,500,000

Percentage within Strategic Research Priorities (%)

94.7

100

 

100

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Science and Research Priorities

Table 6:     Approved funding for ARC Centres of Excellence for funding in 2017 by Science and Research Priority

Science and Research Priority

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate (%)

Approved funds (over project life)

Advanced manufacturing

9

6

66.7

$192,450,000

Environmental change

2

2

100

$63,800,000

Health

5

1

20

$27,250,000

Resources

1

0

 

 

unspecified

2

0

 

 

Total

19

9

47.4

$283,500,000

Total within Science and Research Priorities

17

9

52.9

$283,500,000

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

89.5%

100%

 

100%

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Gender

A total of 587 participants were named as Centre Director, Chief Investigator or Partner Investigator on proposals considered on this round. Of these, 460 are male and 127 female. The success rate for male and female participants in this round are 53 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. Of the nine Centre Directors, two are female and seven are male.

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Collaboration

ARC Centres of Excellence encourage collaboration between university researchers at the Administering and Other Eligible Organisations and researchers and end-users at Partner Organisations, both within Australia and internationally.

The approved proposals involve seven Administering Organisations, 45 Other Eligible Organisations and 118 Partner Organisations.

Table 7:     ARC requested funds and cash and in-kind commitments from Participating Organisations for the ARC Centres of Excellence 2017 approved proposals

ARC Centres of Excellence Title

ARC approved funds over project life

Cash commitments from Participating Organisations* over project life

Cash commitment from Participating Organisations* as % of ARC approved funds over project life

Cash and in-kind commitments from Participating Organisations* over project life

ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions

$30,300,000

$8,571,602

28.3%

$153,947,506

ARC Centre of Excellence of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage

$33,750,000

$11,082,500

32.8%

$28,374,922

ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes

$30,050,000

$9,609,996

32%

$62,070,944

ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems

$31,900,000

$9,938,781

31.2%

$61,382,951

ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery

$31,300,000

$7,954,500

25.4%

$210,112,773

ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science

$31,850,000

$9,709,309

30.5%

$65,141,573

ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

$33,400,000

$9,342,666

28%

$38,147,729

ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research

$27,250,000

$9,573,189

35.1%

$39,646,614

ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology

$33,700,000

$10,588,766

31.4%

$102,580,300

Total

$283,500,000

$86,371,309

30.5%

$761,405,312

*Administering Organisation, Other Eligible Organisations and Partner Organisations

International collaboration is an important component of ARC Centres of Excellence. All approved proposals indicated international collaborations with at least four countries, with the majority indicating international collaboration with seven or more countries. Overall, the approved proposals indicate collaboration with 27 countries. Data relating to international collaboration is shown in Table 8.

Table 8:     International collaboration for the ARC Centres 
of Excellence 2017 by country of collaboration

Country of collaboration

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Austria

2

1

Belgium

3

1

Brazil

1

0

Canada

6

2

China (excludes SARS and Taiwan)

10

5

Denmark

2

2

England

18

8

France

6

4

Germany

14

8

Hong Kong (SAR of China)

2

0

India

1

0

Indonesia

2

2

Israel

1

0

Italy

5

3

Japan

5

2

Netherlands

4

2

New Zealand

5

1

Northern Ireland

1

0

Norway

1

1

Scotland

3

3

Singapore

3

2

South Africa

1

0

Spain

2

0

Sweden

1

0

Switzerland

6

3

Taiwan

1

0

United States of America

20

9

Total

126

59

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