Australian Laureate Fellowships—Selection Report for Funding Commencing in 2016

Overview

The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to support excellence in research by attracting world-class researchers and research leaders to key positions in Australia.

The objectives of the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme are to:

  • attract and retain outstanding researchers and research leaders of international reputation
  • support ground-breaking, internationally competitive research
  • provide an excellent research training environment and exemplary mentorship to nurture early-career researchers
  • forge strong links among researchers, the international research community and/or industry
  • expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability
  • enhance the scale and focus of research in the Science and Research Priorities.

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Selection Process

Proposals for projects commencing in 2016 opened on 29 September 2015 and closed on 17 November 2015. Proposals were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines recommendations from the selection process for that round.

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

  • assessed proposals and reviewed assessments made by independent readers
  • reviewed applicants’ comments on assessors’ reports
  • ranked each proposal relative to the others on the basis of the proposal and the assessors’ reports and applicants’ responses to those assessments
  • assessed and recommended budgets

and, advice from the ARC Eligibility Committee which:

  • considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff or the members of the ARC SAC
  • sought advice from institutions with respect to issues raised
  • made recommendations to the CEO in respect of ineligible proposals.

The ARC assessment and subsequent reporting process for Australian Laureate Fellowships 2016 was managed in the Research Management System (RMS), and used a total of 15 Selection Advisory Committee members on one multi-discipline panel. A total of 495 independent assessor reports were submitted to the ARC for Australian Laureate Fellowships 2016.

This report reflects the approved recommendations by the Minister. Unless otherwise specified, figures presented in this report exclude withdrawn proposals.

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Selection Criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weightings for Australian Laureate Fellowships proposals are:

  • Investigator (40%)
  • Project/Program of Research Activity (30%)
  • Mentoring/Capacity Building (30%)

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Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received a total of 124 proposals for Australian Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2016, of which none were withdrawn. This is an increase from the 115 proposals received for Australian Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2015. All Proposals met eligibility requirements.

The overall success rate for the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme for funding commencing in 2016 is 12.9%.

Funding Levels and Duration

Australian Laureate Fellowships projects are funded for five years on a full-time basis, subject to sufficient funding being available for the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme, the provisions of the Australian Research Council Act 2001 (the ARC Act), and continued satisfactory progress of the Australian Laureate Fellowships project.

In addition to the Australian Laureate Fellowship salary supplement and salary-related (on-cost) support, the ARC may provide Australian Laureate Fellows with:

  1. additional funding for up to two postdoctoral research associates for five years each and up to two postgraduate researchers for four years each
  2. project funding of up to $300,000 per annum (for up to five years).

Of the 16 approved Australian Laureate Fellows, the average amount of approved funding is $2,757,716 in total over five years. In addition to the total Australian Laureate Fellowship salary support of $12,451,520, a total of $18,600,288 is approved for postdoctoral research associates and postgraduate researchers and a further $13,071,644 for general project funding.

While funding is awarded for Australian Laureate Fellowships proposals for five years, the ARC Act applies limits in relation to the amount and years for which the Minister may approve funding. At the time of award, funding is approved only up to and including the 2018-2019 financial year. Subsequent years and associated funding limits are added by amendment to the Act, following which funding for the additional years may be made available. Accordingly, the term "indicative funding" is used throughout this report to denote the total level of funding which it is proposed to be made available, once all years to which funding proposals relate have been legislated.

It is a requirement of the Funding Rules for schemes under the Discovery Program (2015 edition) for the Administering Organisation to provide a salary of Level E professorial appointment (or equivalent) to the successful candidate, with the ARC providing the salary supplement of $119,726 per annum plus 30 per cent on-costs.

Table 1. Indicative funds for approved Australian Laureate Fellowships proposals for funding commencing in 2016

Budget item

2016–17

$

2017–18

$

2018–19

$

2019–20

$

2020–21

$

TOTAL

$

Laureate Salary support + on-costs

2,490,304

2,490,304

2,490,304

2,490,304

2,490,304

12,451,250

ARC Postdoctoral Researchers

3,058,016

3,058,016

3,058,016

3,058,016

3,058,016

15,290,080

ARC Postgraduate Researchers

594,803

827,552

827,552

827,552

232,749

3,310,208

Project Funding

2,850,809

2,617,549

2,623,352

2,566,731

2,413,203

13,071,644

TOTAL

8,993,932

8,993,421

8,999,224

8,942,603

8,194,272,

44,123,452

Approved Australian Laureate Fellows:

Table 2: Australian Laureate Fellows Approved for funding

Fellowship candidate

Administering Organisation

Prof A Bebbington

The University of Melbourne

Prof P Boyd

University of Tasmania

Prof B Brook

University of Tasmania

Prof P Burn

The University of Queensland

Prof P Cawood

Monash University

Prof D Golberg

Queensland University of Technology

Prof D McAlpine

Macquarie University

Prof S Parker (Kathleen Fitzpatrick Award)

The University of Western Australia

Prof J Rossjohn

Monash University

Prof A Rowan

The University of Queensland

Prof A Stone (Kathleen Fitzpatrick Award)

The University of Melbourne

Prof P Tacon

Griffith University

Prof M Tyers

The University of Melbourne

Prof B Vucetic (Georgina Sweet Award)

The University of Sydney

Prof P Waterhouse

Queensland University of Technology

Prof J Woodhead

The University of Melbourne

* Biographies for the 16 Australian Laureate Fellows are available on the ARC Website

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Stage in Career and Gender

As shown in Table 3, at the time of application, 7 of the Australian Laureate Fellowship Candidates in this round are within 15 years of the award of their PhD. Of the approved Australian Laureate Fellows, one is within 15 years of the award of their PhD.

Table 3: Years since the award of PhD (at time of submission)

Years since award of PhD

No. of considered proposals

% of considered proposals

No. of approved
proposals

% of approved
proposals

0-15 years

7

5.65

1

6.25

More than 15 years and up to 20 years

24

19.35

1

6.25

More than 20 years

93

75.00

14

87.5

No PhD

0

0

0

0.00

TOTAL

124

100

16

100

*As several of the FL16 applicants have multiple qualifications, for the purposes of this table we have used the date of their earliest qualification.

Twenty (16.13%) of all Australian Laureate Fellowship Candidates in this round are female. Of the approved Australian Laureate Fellows, three (18.75%) are female.

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Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship

Of the 20 female Australian Laureate Fellowship Candidates, 19 applied for a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship or a Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship. The recipients of the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship (awarded to a candidate from the Humanities, Arts and Social Science disciplines) and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship (awarded to candidates from the Science and Technology disciplines) are shown in Table 4 below. Recipients are provided with additional funding to undertake an ambassadorial role to promote women in research and to mentor early career researchers, particularly women, to encourage them to enter and establish careers in research in Australia.

Table 4: Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship

Fellowship Type

Fellowship Candidate

Administering Organisation

Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship

Prof S Parker

The University of Western Australia

Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship

Prof A Stone

The University of Melbourne

Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship

Prof B Vucetic

The University of Sydney

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Attracting and Retaining Outstanding Researchers

Proposals were open to Eligible Organisations to nominate candidates who are outstanding researchers of international repute, resident either within Australia or overseas. The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme encourages proposals involving Australian or non-Australian researchers.

Of the 124 proposals considered, five were for Australian citizens intending to return to Australia – of these, two are approved for funding. 12 proposals were for foreign nationals who were not permanent residents – of these, four are approved for funding. One hundred and seven proposals were for Australian citizens or permanent residents – of these, ten are approved for funding.

Table 5: Foreign nationals and Returning Australians approved for funding – ARC Discipline Grouping, Foreign National / Returning Australian and Administering Organisation

Fellowship candidate

ARC Discipline Grouping*

Foreign National / Returning Australian

Administering Organisation

Prof A Bebbington

SBE

Foreign National

The University of Melbourne

Prof P Cawood

MPCE

Returning Australian

Monash University

Prof D Golberg

EIC

Returning Australian

Queensland University of Technology

Prof D McAlpine

SBE

Foreign National

Macquarie University

Prof A Rowan

MPCE

Foreign National

The University of Queensland

Prof M Tyers

BSB

Foreign National

The University of Melbourne

*BSB = Biological Sciences and Biotechnology; EIC = Engineering, Information and Computing Sciences; MPCE = Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences; SBE = Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences

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Administering Organisation

The Administering Organisations of the 16 proposals approved for funding are:

 

  • Griffith University (1)
  • Macquarie University (1)
  • Monash University (2)
  • Queensland University of Technology (2)
  • The University of Melbourne (4)
  • The University of Queensland (2)
  • The University of Sydney (1)
  • The University of Western Australia (1)
  • The University of Tasmania (2)

 

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Science and Research Priorities

Of the 124 Australian Laureate Fellowship proposals submitted 74 (59.67%) of the proposals fall within one of the Science and Research Priorities while of the 16 approved proposals, 13 (81.25%) fall under an associated Practical Research Challenge, with total funding approved over five years of $35,954,582.

Table 6: Numbers and success rates for Australian Laureate Fellowships proposals for funding commencing in 2016, by Science and Research Priorities

Science and Research Priorities

Proposals considered

Proposals funded

Success rate (%)

Allocated funds (over project life)

Advanced Manufacturing

16

3

18.75

$8,741,117

Cybersecurity

4

0

0

0

Energy

3

2

66.66

$5,128,271

Environmental Change

18

4

22.22

$11,048,826

Food

5

1

20.0

$2,715,383

Health

17

2

11.76

$5,469,428

Resources

9

1

11.11

$2,851,557

Soil and Water

2

0

0

0

Transport

0

0

0

0

None Selected

50

3

6.0

$8,168,870

Total

124

16

12.90

$44,123,452

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ABS fields of Research

Table 7: Field of Research division details of proposals for the Scheme Round

FoR Code

Classification Name

Submitted

Approved

Allocated Funding

01

Mathematical Sciences

8

0

 

02

Physical Sciences

15

0

 

03

Chemical Sciences

2

1

$2,965,538

04

Earth Sciences

7

2

$5,699,232

05

Environmental Sciences

7

1

$2,864,368

06

Biological Sciences

17

3

$8,299,920

07

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

1

1

$2,715,383

08

Information and Computing Sciences

5

0

 

09

Engineering

15

2

$5,488,844

10

Technology

2

1

$2,527,475

11

Medical and Health Sciences

4

0

 

12

Built Environment and Design

2

0

 

13

Education

4

0

 

14

Economics

3

0

 

15

Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

2

1

$2,917,224

16

Studies in Human Society

7

1

$2,840,132

17

Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

6

1

$2,409,738

18

Law and Legal Studies

3

1

$2,841,908

19

Studies in Creative Arts and Writing

2

0

 

20

Language, Communication and Culture

4

0

 

21

History and Archaeology

5

1

$2,553,690

22

Philosophy and Religious Studies

3

0

 

Total

 

124

16

$44,123,452

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