Selection Report: Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2018


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 2018 opened on 8 February 2017, and closed on
10 April 2017. 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 recommendations were based on advice from a Selection Advisory Committee 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 Selection Advisory Committee or independent assessors
  • where required, 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. Unless otherwise specified, figures presented in this report exclude withdrawn proposals.

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Selection Criteria 

Selection criteria and corresponding weightings for LIEF 2018 proposals are:

  • Project Quality and Innovation (includes significance of research to be supported with the proposed research infrastructure) (25%)
  • Feasibility (includes nature of the alliance and commitment between the organisations named on the Proposal (25%)
  • Investigator(s) (20%)
  • Benefit (includes need and use; demonstrated need for the features specific to the requested research infrastructure/equipment/ facilities) (30%)

The ARC assessment process for 2018 used a Selection Advisory Committee consisting of 14 ARC College of Experts members and an external member and was managed in the Research Management System (RMS). A total of 669 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC for LIEF 2018.

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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 171 proposals for LIEF for funding commencing in 2018. This is a slight decrease from the 179 proposals received for LIEF for funding commencing in 2017. Of the unsuccessful proposals, one was found to not meet eligibility requirements.

The overall success rate for LIEF for funding commencing in 2018 is 29.2 per cent, with a higher percentage of allocation of requested funds compared to LIEF for funding commencing in 2017.

Table 1.  Comparison of proposal numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for recommended LIEF proposals from 2017 to 2018

Funding year

Proposals considered

Proposals recommended

Success rate

Requested funds over project life (all proposals)

Requested funds over project life (recommended proposals)

Funds allocated over project life

Allocation as a percentage of request

2017

179

48

26.8%

$124,466,898

$47,684,961

$28,628,728

60.0%

2018

171

50

29.2%

$122,412,370

$33,697,811

$28,576,391

84.8%

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Outcomes by Science and Research Priorities 

Table 2. Recommended funding and success rate for LIEF 2018 proposals by Science and Research Priorities

Science and Research Priorities

Proposals considered

Proposals

recommended

Success
rate (%)

Recommended funds (over project life)

Advanced manufacturing

52

18

34.6

$10,145,353

Cybersecurity

3

0

 

 

Energy

20

6

30.0

$5,986,053

Environmental change

13

4

30.8

$1,767,863

Food

9

2

22.2

$696,265

Health

19

3

15.8

$2,067,357

Resources

4

1

25.0

$966,283

Soil and water

11

3

27.3

$1,176,541

Transport

7

0

 

 

Unspecified

33

13

39.4

$5,770,676

Total

171

50

29.2

$28,576,391

Total within Science and Research Priorities

138

37

26.8

$22,805,715

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

80.7

74.0

 

79.8

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Outcomes by Administering Organisation 

Table 3. Numbers of proposals and success rates for recommended LIEF 2018 proposals by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation

Proposals considered

Proposals recommended

Success rate (%)

Recommended funding over project life

Australian Capital Territory

12

3

25.0

$1,327,190

The Australian National University

12

3

25.0

$1,327,190

New South Wales

50

18

36.0

$9,717,381

Macquarie University

6

2

33.3

$645,489

Southern Cross University

3

0

0.0

$0

The University of New South Wales

14

7

50.0

$4,288,770

The University of Newcastle

6

0

0.0

$0

The University of Sydney

12

2

16.7

$1,700,800

University of Technology, Sydney

4

3

75.0

$1,402,184

University of Wollongong

4

4

100.0

$1,680,138

Western Sydney University

1

0

0.0

$0

Queensland

19

6

31.6

$6,083,070

Griffith University

2

1

50.0

$384,671

James Cook University

1

1

100.0

$358,031

Queensland University of Technology

4

2

50.0

$1,880,941

The University of Queensland

11

2

18.2

$3,459,427

South Australia

17

4

23.5

$1,500,270

The Flinders University of South Australia

4

1

25.0

$557,389

The University of Adelaide

10

3

30.0

$942,881

University of South Australia

3

0

0.0

$0

Tasmania

5

3

60.0

$701,580

University of Tasmania

5

3

60.0

$701,580

Victoria

52

13

25.0

$7,037,585

Deakin University

3

1

33.3

$264,706

La Trobe University

5

1

20.0

$205,000

Monash University

15

5

33.3

$2,675,165

RMIT University

9

1

11.1

$595,280

Swinburne University of Technology

5

2

40.0

$2,089,551

The University of Melbourne

15

3

20.0

$1,207,883

Western Australia

16

3

18.8

$2,209,315

Curtin University of Technology

1

0

0.0

$0

The University of Western Australia

15

3

20.0

$2,209,315

Total

171

50

29.2

$28,576,391

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Career age and gender 

A total of 1639 Chief Investigators (CIs) were named on all proposals considered in this round. Of these, 289 were female CIs, 1349 were male CIs and one unspecified CI. The success rate for female and male CIs in this round of LIEF is 25.5 per cent and 33.4 per cent respectively.

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 Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2018 by gender and career age*

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Collaboration with Other Eligible, Partner Organisations, Other Organisations 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 Single Eligible Organisation proposals is 33.3 per cent. The success rate for proposals involving collaboration with nine or more Other Eligible Organisations is 27.3 per cent (Table 4).

The success rate for proposals which do not include collaboration/s with Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations or Other Organisations is 33.3 per cent. The success rate for proposals involving collaboration with nine or more Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations or Other Organisations is 15.8 per cent (Table 5).

Applicants foreshadowed 312 instances of collaboration with researchers in 46 overseas locations on 83 proposals. Of the proposals recommended for funding, 27 foreshadowed 98 instances of collaboration with researchers in 31 overseas locations (Figure 2).

Table 4. LIEF 2018 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†

9

3

33.3%

1-2

68

15

22.7%

3-4

63

18

31.6%

5-6

23

8

31.8%

7-8

4

4

66.7%

9 Orgs plus

4

2

27.3%

Total

171

50

29.2%

† 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 2018 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

6

2

33.3%

1-2

51

12

24.0%

3-4

53

17

32.7%

5-6

35

11

34.5%

7-8

17

6

40.0%

9 Orgs plus

9

2

15.8%

Total

171

50

29.2%

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

Figure 2.   International collaborations by location in recommended LIEF 2018 proposals

  • United States of America, 17
  • Germany, 12
  • England, 9
  • France, 7
  • China (excludes SARs and Taiwan), 6
  • Italy, 4
  • Japan, 4
  • Netherlands, 4
  • Switzerland, 4
  • New Zealand, 3
  • Others, 28

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Leverage of ARC funding 

On the LIEF proposals recommended for funding, for every dollar funded by the ARC the proposed dollar contribution of the Organisations listed on these proposals is $0.20.

Table 6. Leverage of ARC funds for recommended proposals

Proposals recommended

Number of Collaborating Organisations

Recommended ARC funding

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

Leverage (Collaborating Contribution/ARC Recommended Funding)

50

22

$28,576,391

$5,747,114

$0.20

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