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 of such repute in the wider community that they will serve as points of interaction among higher education institutions, governments, industry and the private sector generally.

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Selection process

The ARC Centres of Excellence selection round was conducted through a competitive three-stage process:

  • Expression of Interest (EOI)
  • full Proposal
  • interview.

The ARC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), assisted by ARC staff, prepared funding recommendations for submission to the Minister for Education. The recommendations were based on advice from a Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) which:

  • assessed Expressions of Interest and shortlisted EOIs for submission of full Proposals
  • assessed full Proposals and reviewed assessments made by independent readers
  • reviewed Applicants’ comments on assessor reports
  • shortlisted full Proposals for interview
  • interviewed shortlisted 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
  • where required, sought advice from institutions or at interview with respect to issues raised.

The recommendations of the CEO were considered and approved by the Minister. This report reflects the approved outcomes.

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Selection criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weighting for EOIs:

  • Research programme—quality and innovation (45%)
  • Investigators (40%)
  • Institutional support (15%)

Selection criteria and corresponding weighting for Proposals:

  • Research programme—quality and innovation (20%)
  • Investigators (20%)
  • Institutional support (20%)
  • Governance, leadership and mentoring (20%)
  • Outcomes and linkages (20%)

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Funding levels and duration

Funding of between $1 million and $4 million per annum for up to seven years may be awarded for each ARC Centre of Excellence.

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Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received a total of 103 EOIs and invited 22 applications to submit full Proposals. Of the 22 ARC Centres of Excellence Proposals submitted, 12 (54.5%) are approved for funding. This represents an Australian Government commitment of $285 million over the life of these Centres.

Table 1:     Numbers of EOIs, Proposals and success rates for ARC Centres of Excellence 2014 by discipline panel

Panel*

EOIs considered

EOIs shortlisted

EOI success rate
(%)

Proposals considered

Proposals interviewed

Proposals approved

Proposals success rate

BSB

26

6

23.1%

6

6

4

66.7%

EMI

33

5

15.2%

5

5

3

60.0%

HCA

11

4

36.4%

4

4

1

25.0%

PCE

23

5

21.7%

5

5

3

60.0%

SBE

10

2

20.0%

2

2

1

50.0%

Total

103

22

21.4%

22

22

12

54.5%

*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 2014 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

4

$108,127,261

$96,000,000

88.78%

EMI

3

$71,532,842

$65,000,000

90.87%

HCA

1

$28,000,000

$28,000,000

100.00%

PCE

3

$83,932,145

$75,999,996

90.55%

SBE

1

$25,200,000

$20,000,000

79.37%

Total

12

$316,792,248

$284,999,996

89.96%

*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 2014 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)

Charles Darwin University

1

0

0.0%

0

0

-

-

Curtin University of Technology

4

0

0.0%

0

0

-

-

Deakin University

1

0

0.0%

0

0

-

-

Griffith University

2

1

50.0%

1

0

-

-

James Cook University

1

1

100.0%

1

1

100.0%

$28,000,000

Macquarie University

3

3

100.0%

3

0

-

-

Monash University

8

3

37.5%

3

3

100.0%

$73,999,996

Queensland University of Technology

5

2

40.0%

2

1

50.0%

$19,000,000

Swinburne University of Technology

2

0

0.0%

0

0

-

-

The Australian National University

9

2

22.2%

2

2

100.0%

$50,000,000

The Flinders University of South Australia

1

1

100%

1

0

-

-

The University of Adelaide

3

1

33.3%

1

1

100.0%

$23,000,000

The University of Melbourne

12

1

8.3%

1

1

100.0%

$20,000,000

The University of New South Wales

11

0

0.0%

0

0

-

-

The University of Newcastle

4

0

0.0%

0

0

-

-

The University of Queensland

11

1

9.1%

1

1

100.0%

$20,000,000

The University of Sydney

7

3

42.9%

3

0

-

-

The University of Western Australia

7

1

14.3%

1

1

100.0%

$26,000,000

University of South Australia

3

0

0.0%

0

0

-

-

University of Tasmania

3

0

0.0%

0

0

-

-

University of Technology, Sydney

2

1

50.0%

1

0

-

-

University of Wollongong

3

1

33.3%

1

1

100.0%

$25,000,000

Table 4:     ARC Centres of Excellence 2014 Proposals approved for funding

ARC Centres of Excellence Title

Centre Director

Administering Organisation

Total approved funds over project life

ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging

Prof James Whisstock

Monash University

$27,999,996

ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course

Prof Janeen Baxter

The University of Queensland

$20,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology

Prof Thomas Davis

Monash University

$26,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

Prof Nicholas Evans

The Australian National University

$28,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science

Prof Gordon Wallace

University of Wollongong

$25,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies

Prof Terence Hughes

James Cook University

$28,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function

Prof Gary Egan

Monash University

$20,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers of Big Data, Big Models, New Insights

Prof Peter Hall

The University of Melbourne

$20,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics

Prof Tanya Monro

The University of Adelaide

$23,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology

Prof Andrew Millar

The University of Western Australia

$26,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision

Prof Peter Corke

Queensland University of Technology

$19,000,000

ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis

Prof Murray Badger

The Australian National University

$22,000,000

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Collaboration

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

The approved Proposals involve nine Administering Organisations, 22 Collaborating Organisations and 106 Partner Organisations.

Table 5:     ARC requested funds and cash commitments from all Organisations for the ARC Centres of Excellence 2014 approved Proposals

ARC Centres of Excellence Title

ARC requested funds over project life

Cash commitment from all Organisations* over project life

Cash commitment from all Organisations* as % of ARC requested funds over project life

ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging

$27,999,996

$10,558,326

37.7%

ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course

$25,200,000

$7,900,000

31.4%

ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology

$27,996,624

$9,413,201

33.6%

ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

$28,000,000

$9,338,000

33.4%

ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science

$27,932,149

$13,843,602

49.6%

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies

$28,000,000

$12,026,332

43.0%

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function

$27,719,993

$9,384,551

33.9%

ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers of Big Data, Big Models, New Insights

$22,956,217

$8,157,064.00

35.5%

ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics

$28,000,000

$16,319,284

58.3%

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology

$27,990,263

$14,067,236

50.3%

ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision

$20,580,001

$6,860,002

33.3%

ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis

$24,417,005

$8,191,565

33.5%

Total

$316,792,248

$126,059,163.00

39.8%

*Administering Organisation, Collaborating Organisations and Partner Organisations

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International Collaboration

International collaboration is an important component of ARC Centres of Excellence. All approved Proposals indicated international collaborations with at least one country, with the majority indicating international collaboration with five or more countries. Overall, the approved Proposals indicate collaboration with 44 countries. Data relating to international collaboration is shown in Table 6.

Table 6:     International collaboration for the ARC Centres of Excellence 2014 by country of collaboration

Country of collaboration

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Belgium

1

-

Belize

1

1

Brazil

1

1

Burma

1

-

Cambodia

1

-

Canada

9

5

Chile

1

1

China

12

4

Colombia

1

1

Denmark

2

2

Fiji

1

1

Finland

1

1

France

7

6

Germany

10

6

India

3

1

Indonesia

3

2

Ireland

3

3

Israel

2

2

Italy

5

3

Japan

7

4

Kenya

1

1

Korea, Republic of (South)

3

2

Madagascar

1

1

Malaysia

2

1

Maldives

1

1

Mexico

1

1

Monaco

1

1

Netherlands

5

3

New Caledonia

1

1

New Zealand

7

4

Norway

3

1

Pakistan

1

-

Papua New Guinea

1

1

Philippines

3

2

Portugal

1

1

Qatar

1

-

Saudi Arabia

1

1

Seychelles

1

1

Singapore

5

4

Solomon Islands

1

1

South Africa

2

1

Spain

1

1

Sri Lanka

1

-

Sweden

6

4

Switzerland

6

3

Taiwan

1

1

Tanzania

1

1

Thailand

1

-

Turkey

1

-

United Kingdom

16

10

United States of America

21

11

Venezuela

1

1

Vietnam

1

-

Total

172

105

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