Overview

The Discovery Indigenous scheme provides funding to support research programmes led by an Indigenous Australian researcher and builds the research capacity of higher degree research and early career researchers.

The objectives of Discovery Indigenous are to:

  • develop the research expertise of Indigenous Australian researchers
  • support fundamental research and research training by Indigenous Australian researchers as individuals and as teams
  • support and retain established Indigenous Australian researchers in Australian higher education institutions
  • expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability.

Discovery Indigenous supports Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (DAATSIA) for researchers who are Indigenous Australians.

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Selection Process

Discovery Indigenous for funding commencing in 2016 opened on 4 February 2015 and closed on 1 April 2015. Proposals were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System. This report outlines approved recommendations from the selection process for that round.

ARC Executive Directors, assisted by relevant ARC staff, prepared funding recommendations for submission to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The recommendations were based on advice from the ARC College of Experts 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, independent assessors or the members of the ARC College of Experts
  • sought clarification from Administering Organisations with respect to issues raised
  • made recommendations to the CEO in respect of ineligible proposals.

This report reflects the approved recommendations by the Minister.

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Selection Criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weightings for Discovery Indigenous 2016 proposals are:

  • Project Quality and Innovation (40%)
  • Investigators (35%)
  • Research Environment (15%)
  • Feasibility and Benefit (10%)

The ARC assessment and subsequent reporting process for 2016 used 64 College of Experts members and was managed in the Research Management System. A total of 110 independent assessor reports were submitted to the ARC for Discovery Indigenous 2016.

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Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received a total of 31 proposals for Discovery Indigenous for funding commencing in 2016, one proposal less than for the previous round. The overall success rate of 32.3 per cent represents a slight increase from the success rate of 31.3 per cent in the previous round due to a lower number of proposals being received in this round. Additionally, there was a decrease in the total value of funding for Discovery Indigenous 2016 of $4.05 million compared with the previous round of $4.39 million.

Table 1. Comparison of proposal numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funding for approved Discovery Indigenous proposals from 2015 to 2016

Funding year

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Requested funds over project life (all proposals)

Requested funds over project life (approved proposals)

Funds allocated over project life

Allocation as a percentage of request

2015

32

10

31.3%

$18,423,384

$6,571,998

$4,392,609

66.8%

2016

31

10

32.3%

$20,945,638

$5,441,127

$4,059,356

74.6%

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Project Size

Table 2. Comparison of the average first year funding allocation and the average funding allocation over the project life for approved Discovery Indigenous proposals from 2015 to 2016.

Funding year

Average year 1 request

Average year 1 allocation

Allocation as a percentage of year 1 request

Average project life request

Average project life allocation

Allocation as a percentage of project life request

2015

$218,068

$142,010

65.1%

$657,200

$439,261

66.8%

2016

$172,086

$134,930

78.4%

$544,113

$405,936

74.6%

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Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award

The Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (DAATSIA), formerly known as the Discovery Indigenous Award (DIA), was introduced into the Discovery Indigenous scheme in 2012. Chief Investigators who are Indigenous Australians are eligible to apply for a DAATSIA.

Table 3. Comparison of Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (DAATSIA) success rates from 2015 to 2016

Funding year

Number of Proposals requesting one or more DAATSIA

Number of approved Proposals awarded one or more DAATSIA

Success rate

2015

14*

4*

28.6%

2016

14

3

21.4%

* Represents data for Discovery Indigenous Award (DIA), now known as Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (DAATSIA)

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Gender of Participants

A total of 120 participants were named on all proposals considered in 2016.  This includes 14 candidates nominated for the Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (DAATSIA).

Table 4. Success rates for all participants (Chief Investigators (including DAATSIA candidates) and Partner Investigators) by gender, in Discovery Indigenous 2016

Gender of Participants

Participants (all proposals)

Participants (approved proposals)

Participant success rate

Female

68

13

19.1%

Male

52

17

32.7%

Total

120

30

25.0%

 

Table 5. Success rates for Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (DAATSIA) candidates, by gender, in Discovery Indigenous 2016

Gender of DAATSIA candidates

DAATSIA candidates

DAATSIA recipients

Success rate

Female candidates

8

1

12.5%

Male candidates

6

2

25%

Total

14

3

21.4%

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International Collaboration

Table 6. Instances of international collaboration in Discovery Indigenous 2016

Country

Instances of international collaboration on proposals considered

Instances of international collaboration on approved proposals

Canada

3

1

England

3

1

Ireland

1

0

Japan

1

0

Netherlands

1

0

New Zealand

4

1

Portugal

1

1

United States of America

7

3

Total instances of international collaboration

21

7

Total number of proposals listing instances of international collaboration

14

4

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Strategic Research Priorities

Table 7. Approved funding for Discovery Indigenous 2016 by Strategic Research Priority

Strategic Research Priority area

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Approved funds over project life

Lifting productivity and economic growth

6

2

33.3%

$402,000

Living in a changing environment

5

2

40.0%

$1,039,000

Promoting population health and wellbeing

18

5

27.8%

$2,368,356

Securing Australia’s place in a changing world

1

1

100.0%

$250,000

Unspecified

1

0

0.0%

$0

Total all proposals

31

10

32.3%

$4,059,356

Total within Strategic Research Priority areas

30

10

33.3%

$4,059,356

Percentage within priority areas

96.8%

100%

 

100%

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Selection Outcomes by Administering Organisation

Table 8. Numbers of proposals, success rates and approved funding for Discovery Indigenous 2016 proposals by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Approved funding over project life

New South Wales

12

6

50.0%

$2,274,712

Australian Catholic University

2

1

50.0%

$572,000

Southern Cross University

1

0

0.0%

$0

The University of New South Wales

3

1

33.3%

$404,000

The University of Newcastle

1

1

100.0%

$112,000

The University of Sydney

2

2

100.0%

$803,783

University of Technology, Sydney

1

0

0.0%

$0

University of Wollongong

2

1

50.0%

$382,929

Northern Territory

2

0

0.0%

$0

Charles Darwin University

2

0

0.0%

$0

Queensland

2

0

0.0%

$0

Queensland University of Technology

1

0

0.0%

$0

The University of Queensland

1

0

0.0%

$0

South Australia

2

1

50.0%

$635,000

The University of Adelaide

2

1

50.0%

$635,000

Tasmania

2

1

50.0%

$310,000

University of Tasmania

2

1

50.0%

$310,000

Victoria

10

2

20.0%

$839,644

Deakin University

2

0

0.0%

$0

La Trobe University

1

0

0.0%

$0

Monash University

2

1

50.0%

$250,000

The University of Melbourne

5

1

20.0%

$589,644

Western Australia

1

0

0.0%

$0

Murdoch University

1

0

0.0%

$0

Total

31

10

32.3%

$4,059,356

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