Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities
Selection Report for Funding Commencing in 2017

Overview

The Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme provides funding for research infrastructure, equipment and facilities to eligible organisations to support research.  The scheme enables higher education researchers to participate in cooperative initiatives so that expensive infrastructure, equipment and facilities can be shared between higher education organisations and also with industry.

The objectives of LIEF scheme are to:

  • encourage Eligible Organisations to develop collaborative arrangements with other Eligible Organisations and/or Partner Organisations to develop and support research infrastructure;
  • support large-scale national or international cooperative initiatives allowing expensive research infrastructure to be shared and/or accessed;
  • support areas of existing and/or emerging research strength;
  • support and develop research infrastructure for the broader research community.

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Selection Process

Proposals for funding commencing in 2017 opened on 17 February 2016, and closed on 6 April 2016. Proposals were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines approved recommendations from the selection process for that round.

The ARC has prepared funding recommendations for submission to the Acting 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 assessors
  • reviewed Applicants’ comments on assessors’ reports
  • ranked each proposal relative to the others on the basis of the proposal, 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, the ARC College of Experts or independent assessors
  • where required, sought clarification from Administering Organisations with respect to issues raised
  • made recommendations to the Acting CEO in respect of ineligible proposals.

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 Unless otherwise specified, figures presented in this report exclude withdrawn proposals.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 LIEF 2017 proposals are:

Significance of research to be supported with the proposed research infrastructure

20%

Need and use of the proposed research infrastructure

30%

Nature of alliance and commitment between the organisations named on the Proposal

30%

Investigator(s)

20%

The ARC assessment process for 2017 used 15 College of Experts members and was managed in the Research Management System (RMS). A total of 536 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC for LIEF 2017.

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Funding levels and duration

The minimum level of funding provided by the ARC under LIEF is $150,000 per annum and the maximum level of funding cannot exceed 75 per cent of the total direct cost of the eligible budget item(s). Funding is provided for up to one year; or, up to five years for construction of research infrastructure or coordinated access to major national and/or international research facilities.

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Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received a total of 179 proposals for LIEF for funding commencing in 2017. This is a slight increase from the 173 proposals received for LIEF for funding commencing in 2016. Of the unsuccessful proposals, eight were found to not meet eligibility requirements.

The overall success rate for LIEF for funding commencing in 2017 is 26.8 per cent, with a lower percentage of allocation of requested funds compared to LIEF for funding commencing in 2016.

Table 1. Comparison of proposal numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for approved LIEF proposals from 2016 to 2017

Funding year

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Requested funds over project life (all proposals)

Requested funds over project life (approved proposals)

Approved funds over project life (approved proposals)

Approved funds as % of requested funds

2016

173

54

31.2%

$120,582,334

$48,358,773

$37,973,900

78.5%

2017

179

48

26.8%

$124,466,898

$40,931,006

$28,628,728

69.9%

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Outcomes by Science and Research Priorities

Table 2. Approved funding and success rate for LIEF 2017 proposals by Science and Research Priorities

Science and Research Priorities

Proposals considered

Proposals
approved

Success 
rate (%)

Approved funds (over project life)

Advanced manufacturing

61

19

31.1%

$11,397,453

Cybersecurity

3

1

33.3%

$780,000

Energy

18

6

33.3%

$3,226,275

Environmental change

21

6

28.6%

$2,850,000

Food

10

1

10.0%

$510,000

Health

17

5

29.4%

$4,924,000

Resources

7

1

14.3%

$193,000

Soil and water

9

1

11.1%

$552,000

Transport

4

1

25.0%

$326,000

Unspecified

29

7

24.1%

$3,870,000

Total

179

48

26.8%

$28,628,728

Total within Science and Research Priorities

150

41

27.3%

$24,758,728

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

83.8%

85.4%

 

86.5%

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Outcomes by Administering Organisation

Table 3. Numbers of proposals and success rates for approved LIEF 2017 proposals by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation

Proposals considered

Proposals 
approved

Success 
rate (%)

Approved funds over project life ($)

Australian Capital Territory

17

4

23.5%

$3,233,453

The Australian National University

17

4

23.5%

$3,233,453

New South Wales

52

10

19.2%

$5,605,275

Macquarie University

4

0

0.0%

$0

Southern Cross University

3

1

33.3%

$552,000

The University of New England

1

0

0.0%

$0

The University of New South Wales

16

3

18.8%

$2,358,275

The University of Newcastle

3

0

0.0%

$0

The University of Sydney

16

4

25.0%

$2,045,000

University of Technology, Sydney

5

1

20.0%

$450,000

University of Wollongong

3

1

33.3%

$200,000

Western Sydney University

1

0

0.0%

$0

Queensland

24

8

33.3%

$4,015,000

Griffith University

5

2

40.0%

$915,000

 

James Cook University

2

0

0.0%

$0

Queensland University of Technology

6

2

33.3%

$1,150,000

The University of Queensland

11

4

36.4%

$1,950,000

South Australia

23

6

26.1%

$3,402,000

The Flinders University of South Australia

4

1

25.0%

$465,000

The University of Adelaide

16

5

31.3%

$2,937,000

University of South Australia

3

0

0.0%

$0

Tasmania

1

0

0.0%

$0

University of Tasmania

1

0

0.0%

$0

Victoria

44

13

29.5%

$7,702,000

Deakin University

4

1

25.0%

$350,000

La Trobe University

1

0

0.0%

$0

Monash University

14

5

35.7%

$3,439,000

RMIT University

6

1

16.7%

$250,000

Swinburne University of Technology

5

1

20.0%

$458,000

The University of Melbourne

13

4

30.8%

$2,730,000

Victoria University

1

1

100%

$475,000

Western Australia

18

7

38.9%

$4,671,000

Curtin University of Technology

3

1

33.3%

$780,000

Edith Cowan University

1

1

100%

$170,000

Murdoch University

1

1

100%

$2,168,000

The University of Western Australia

13

4

30.8%

$1,553,000

Total

179

48

26.8%

$28,628,728

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Career age and gender

A total of 1733 Chief Investigators (CIs) were named on all proposals considered in this round. Of these, 319 were female CIs and 1414 were male CIs. The success rate for female and male CIs in this round of LIEF is 30.1 per cent and 30.6 per cent respectively (Figure 1).

Success rates of CIs by career age and gender in the current LIEF round are represented in Figure 1 below. CIs who did not specify the date of completion of their PhD or who do not hold a PhD (2.8 per cent) are not represented in the figure below.

Figure 1. Participation and success rate of Chief Investigators (CIs) in LIEF 2017 by gender and career age*

Alt-text for Figure 1: Chart showing participation and success rate of Chief Investigators (CIs) in LIEF 2017 by gender and career age—where age is calculated as years since PhD. The chart only shows up to 25 plus years since PhD and female per cent figure is represented in dark pink whilst the male per cent figure is represented in blue.

* Career age is calculated as years since PhD.

 

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Collaboration with Other Eligible, Domestic and International Organisations

LIEF Proposals normally are expected to develop collaborative arrangements with Other Eligible Organisations and/or Partner and Other Organisations. A Proposal must involve two or more Eligible Organisations unless it is a Single Eligible Organisation Proposal and can demonstrate that collaborative use of the proposed research infrastructure by another Eligible Organisation is not practicable.

The success rate for Proposals which do not involve collaboration/s is 0.0 per cent. Conversely, the success rate for Proposals involving nine or more collaborations with either Other Eligible Organisations and/or Partner Organisations and Other Organisations is 100 per cent and 46.7 per cent respectively (Table 4 and 5).

Applicants foreshadowed 308 instances of collaboration with researchers in 49 overseas locations on 84 proposals. Of the proposals approved for funding, 26 foreshadowed 106 instances of collaboration with researchers in 31 overseas locations (Figure 2).

Table 4. LIEF 2017 proposals success rates by number of Eligible Organisations

Number of Collaborating Other Eligible Organisations

Number of Proposals considered

Number of Proposals approved

Success rate within band (%)

0

13

0

0.0%

1-2

71

15

21.1%

3-4

61

18

29.5%

5-6

23

8

34.8%

7-8

10

6

60.0%

9 Orgs plus

1

1

100%

Total

179

48

26.8%

† A single-Eligible Organisation Proposal means a proposal which includes only one Eligible Organisation (the Administering Organisation). A Single Eligible Organisation Proposal may or may not include Partner Organisations.

Table 5. LIEF 2017 proposals success rates by number of All Collaborating Organisations

Number of Collaborating Organisations*

Number of Proposals considered

Number of Proposals approved

Success rate within band (%)

0

9

0

0.0%

1-2

44

8

18.2%

3-4

61

17

27.9%

5-6

29

8

27.6%

7-8

21

8

38.1%

9 Orgs plus

15

7

46.7%

Total

179

48

26.8%

* Collaborating organisations include the Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations and Other Organisations

Figure 2. International collaborations by location in approved LIEF 2017 proposal

Alt-text for Figure 2: Chart showing instances of international collaborations with specific countries in approved Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2017 proposals.  United States of America, 19 England, 15 Germany, 13 Canada, 7 Japan, 7 New Zealand, 5 France, 4 China (excludes SARs and Taiwan), 3 Singapore, 3 Switzerland, 3 Other, 3

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Leverage of ARC funding

On the LIEF Proposals approved for funding, for every dollar funded by the ARC the proposed dollar contribution of the Organisations listed on these Proposals is $1.09.

Table 6. Leverage of ARC funds for recommended proposals

Proposals approved

Number of Collaborating Organisations

Approved ARC funds

Collaborating Organisations Cash and In-kind contribution ($ equivalent)

Leverage (Collaborating Contribution/ARC Approved Funds)

48

56

$28,628,728

$31,072,528

$1.09