Overview

The Linkage Projects scheme provides funding to Eligible Organisations to support research and development (R&D) projects which are collaborative between higher education researchers and other parts of the national innovation system, which are undertaken to acquire new knowledge, and which involve risk or innovation.

The objectives of the Linkage Projects scheme are to:

  • support the initiation and/or development of long-term strategic research alliances between higher education organisations and other organisations, including industry and other research end-users, in order to apply advanced knowledge to problems and/or to provide opportunities to obtain national economic, social or cultural benefits
  • provide opportunities for internationally competitive research projects to be conducted in collaboration with organisations outside the higher education sector, targeting those who have demonstrated a clear commitment to high-quality research
  • encourage growth of a national pool of world-class researchers to meet the needs of the broader Australian innovation system
  • build the scale and focus of research in the national Science and Research Priorities.

Continuous submission and assessment process

The Linkage Projects scheme opened for continuous submission of proposals on 1 July 2016, in accordance with the National Innovation and Science Agenda— a measure announced by the Australian Government on 7 December 2015. The continuous submission and assessment process means that proposals are rigorously assessed as soon as they are submitted in the ARC’s Research Management System (RMS).

For the purposes of clarity, Linkage Projects 2016 proposals submitted between 1 July – 22 December 2016 (under the continuous submission and assessment process) will be referred to in this report as Round Two. This Selection Report includes previously announced proposals and proposals which have recently been approved for funding by the Minister. Linkage Projects 2016 proposals submitted from 16 September–11 November 2015 will be referred to in this report as Round One.

Selection Process

This report outlines recommendations from the selection process for Linkage Projects proposals for funding commencing in 2016 Round Two. Proposals were submitted through RMS.

ARC Executive Directors, assisted by 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:

  • assigned independent assessors to review the proposals
  • 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 on 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 advice from institutions with respect to issues raised
  • made recommendations to the CEO in respect of ineligible proposals.

This report reflects the approved recommendations by the Minister.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weights for Linkage Projects proposals are:

  • Investigator(s) (20%)
  • Significance and Innovation (25%)
  • Approach and Training (15%)
  • Project Research Environment (10%)
  • Commitment from Partner Organisation(s) (30%)

The ARC assessment and subsequent reporting process for Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two used a total of 108 ARC College of Experts members across four discipline panels and was managed in the RMS. A total of 944 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC for Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two.

Summary of Outcomes

A total of 225 proposals were received under Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two. The overall success rate is 39.6 per cent.

Table 1. Comparison of proposal numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for successful proposals from Linkage Projects 2016 Round One and Round Two

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 (%)

2016 Round One

742

231

31.1

$324,634,144

$113,128,253

$81,218,438

71.8

2016 Round Two

225

89

39.6

$103,528,803

$44,381,440

$34,144,467

76.9

 

Approved Funding by Discipline Panel

Table 2. Comparison of proposal numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funds for approved Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two proposals by discipline panel

Panel*

Proposals considered

Proposals

approved

Success rate

Requested funds over project life (all proposals considered)

Approved funds over project life (approved proposals)

BEM

44

16

36.4

$27,834,033

$7,312,936

ET

86

40

46.5

$38,584,193

$15,273,094

HSE

59

19

32.2

$21,886,118

$6,067,363

PMI

36

14

38.9

$15,224,459

$5,491,074

Total

225

89

39.6

$103,528,803

$34,144,467

*BEM = Biological Sciences, Biotechnology, Environmental, Medical and Health Sciences; ET = Engineering and Technology; HSE = Humanities and Creative Arts, Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences; PMI = Physical, Mathematical and Information Sciences

Leverage of ARC Funding

Of the 225 proposals considered, 89 were approved with a total approved funding of $34.1 million over the life of these projects. There are 192 unique Partner Organisations involved with these projects and they have pledged a total (cash and in-kind) of $58.5 million. This represents $1.71 from Partner Organisations for every dollar funded by the ARC.

Selection Outcomes by Administering Organisation

Table 3. Numbers of proposals, success rates, ARC approved funding and Partner Organisation contributions for approved Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two proposals by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation

Proposals considered

Proposals

approved

Success rate (%)

ARC approved funding over project life (approved proposals)

Partner Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved proposals)

Australian Capital Territory

5

2

40.0

$860,000

$965,691

The Australian National University

4

1

25.0

$420,000

*

University of Canberra

1

1

100

$440,000

*

New South Wales

61

26

42.6

$9,114,441

$14,326,625

Australian Catholic University

1

1

100

$156,000

*

Charles Sturt University

1

0

0

-

-

Macquarie University

4

3

75.0

$1,060,000

$1,358,813

Southern Cross University

1

0

0

-

-

The University of New South Wales

22

9

40.9

$2,739,389

$4,448,944

The University of Newcastle

2

0

0

-

-

The University of Sydney

9

2

22.2

$914,983

$1,009,285

University of Technology Sydney

4

3

75.0

$1,335,000

$2,159,462

University of Wollongong

13

6

46.2

$2,380,000

$4,560,000

Western Sydney University

4

2

50.0

$529,069

$610,121

Northern Territory

3

1

33.3

$380,000

*

Charles Darwin University

3

1

33.3

$380,000

*

Queensland

58

26

44.8

$9,219,305

$16,009,716

Griffith University

4

2

50.0

$916,210

$1,120,768

James Cook University

2

0

0

-

-

Queensland University of Technology

12

3

25.0

$910,000

$1,657,730

The University of Queensland

37

20

54.1

$7,100,095

$12,852,033

University of Southern Queensland

2

0

0

-

-

University of the Sunshine Coast

1

1

100

$293,000

*

South Australia

17

4

23.5

$1,955,000

$3,833,285

The Flinders University of South Australia

3

1

33.3

$485,000

*

The University of Adelaide

11

3

27.3

$1,470,000

$3,173,785

University of South Australia

3

0

0

-

-

Tasmania

3

2

66.7

$930,000

$1,709,198

University of Tasmania

3

2

66.7

$930,000

$1,709,198

Victoria

58

22

37.9

$9,065,589

$15,179,284

Deakin University

5

0

0

-

-

La Trobe University

3

0

0

-

-

Monash University

13

7

53.8

$2,730,074

$4,814,935

RMIT University

6

2

33.3

$690,000

$1,104,000

Swinburne University of Technology

6

1

16.7

$165,000

*

The University of Melbourne

22

12

54.5

$5,480,515

$9,038,946

Victoria University

3

0

0

-

-

Western Australia

20

6

30.0

$2,620,132

$6,009,896

Curtin University

10

3

30.0

$1,010,132

$2,885,396

Edith Cowan University

3

1

33.3

$360,000

*

The University of Western Australia

7

2

28.6

$1,250,000

$2,460,000

Total

225

89

39.6

$34,144,467

$58,513,889

*For confidentiality reasons, total contributions by Partner Organisations are not shown in instances in which Administering Organisations are associated with one approved proposal only. The Table 3 total does, however, include the total contributions by Partner Organisations on approved Projects associated with those Administering Organisations.

Partner Organisations were identified as Australian, international, government, non-profit, industry or overseas higher education organisations. The Partner Organisation contributions in these categories for Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two proposals approved for funding are shown below in Table 4.

Table 4. Partner Organisation contributions by sector for approved Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two proposals

Type

 

Cash

In-kind

Total

 

 

$

%

$

%

$

%

Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Federal

 

$607,500

2.9

$1,930,832

5.2

$2,538,332

4.3

Australian state, territory and local

 

$3,696,700

17.5

$4,777,910

12.8

$8,474,610

14.5

International

 

$0

0

$120,000

0.3

$120,000

0.2

 

Sub-total

$4,304,200

20.3

$6,828,742

18.3

$11,132,942

19.0

Industry Body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian

 

$9,594,972

45.3

$15,739,722

42.2

$25,334,694

43.3

International

 

$5,290,670

25.0

$7,757,484

20.8

$13,048,154

22.3

 

Sub-total

$14,885,642

70.3

$23,497,206

62.9

$38,382,848

65.6

Non-profit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian

 

$740,500

3.5

$2,897,972

7.8

$3,638,472

6.2

International

 

$0

0

$102,568

0.3

$102,568

0.2

 

Sub-total

$740,500

3.5

$3,000,540

8.0

$3,741,040

6.4

Higher Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International

 

$30,000

0.1

$299,640

0.8

$329,640

0.6

 

Sub-total

$30,000

0.1

$299,640

0.8

$329,640

0.6

Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

 

$1,207,000

5.7

$3,720,419

10.0

$4,927,419

8.4

 

Sub-total

$1,207,000

5.7

$3,720,419

10.0

$4,927,419

8.4

 

Total

$21,167,342

100.0

$37,346,547

100.0

$58,513,889

100.0

Note: All percentages are shown using rounded figures, and as such may not sum to 100%.

Partnerships

Linkage Projects proposals represent partnerships between researchers, higher education organisations and other organisations, as well as collaborations between Partner Organisations within projects. There are a total of 207 instances of collaboration with Partner Organisations (including multiple collaborations with a number of organisations) in Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two giving an average of 2.3 Partner Organisations involved in each proposal. These partnerships form congruent and/or complementary linkages in Fields of Research (FoR). A summary of the FoR categories identified by applicants of approved proposals and the total Partner Organisation contributions are shown below in Table 5.

Table 5. Proposal data by Field of Research category for Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two

Field of Research category

Number of proposals
Approved#

Partner Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved proposals)

Mathematical Sciences

1

*

Physical Sciences

2

$1,188,442

Chemical Sciences

3

$1,669,399

Earth Sciences

4

$4,125,347

Environmental Sciences

4

$3,138,014

Biological Sciences

8

$8,334,414

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

2

$783,185

Information and Computing Sciences

4

$2,771,640

Engineering

34

$20,868,805

Technology

6

$4,564,820

Medical and Health Sciences

3

$1,025,945

Built Environment and Design

1

*

Education

3

$2,051,250

Economics

1

*

Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

1

*

Studies in Human Society

2

$999,026

Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

4

$3,115,259

Law and Legal Studies

1

*

Language, Communication and Culture

2

$749,968

History and Archaeology

3

$1,409,289

Total

89

$58,513,889

# Based on the primary FoR

*For confidentiality reasons, total contributions by Partner Organisations are not shown in instances in which FoR codes are associated with one approved proposal only. The Table 5 total does, however, include the total contributions by Partner Organisations on approved Projects associated with those FoR codes.

International Collaboration

Figure 1. Instances of international collaboration on approved proposals in Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two

	Instances of international collaboration on approved proposals in Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two

  • United States of America—22
  • China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)—9
  • England—8
  • Germany—4
  • Canada—3
  • France—3
  • Italy—3
  • New Zealand—3
  • Chile—2
  • Finland—2
  • Netherlands—2
  • Sweden—2
  • Other—15

Table 6.  Instances of international collaboration in Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two

Country

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Argentina

1

1

Austria

2

0

Belgium

2

1

Brazil

1

0

Canada

10

3

Chile

3

2

China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)

28

9

Czech Republic

1

1

Denmark

2

1

England

19

8

Finland

2

2

France

4

3

Germany

9

4

Greece

1

0

Hong Kong (SAR of China)

1

0

India

4

1

Ireland

1

0

Israel

1

1

Italy

6

3

Japan

4

0

Kazakhstan

1

1

Korea, Republic of (South)

1

0

Morocco

1

0

Netherlands

6

2

New Zealand

6

3

Northern Ireland

2

0

Philippines

2

1

Russian Federation

1

0

Scotland

3

1

Singapore

3

1

South Africa

1

1

Sweden

4

2

Switzerland

3

1

Taiwan

1

1

Thailand

1

0

Turkey

1

1

United Arab Emirates

1

0

United States of America

43

22

Wales

1

1

Total

184

78


Age and Gender

A total of 1103 participants were named on all proposals considered in this round. Of these, 283 are female and 816 are male (two participants selected indeterminate/intersex and another two have chosen to not specify their gender). Figure 2 shows the number and success rate of participants in the round by age and gender. The success rate for female and male participants in this round of Linkage Projects proposals is 37.1 per cent and 41.1 per cent respectively. The success rates for each gender have been quite similar over the last eleven Linkage Projects rounds (Figure 3). A total of 168 of the proposals considered had a male lead CI, of which 65 were successful, representing a 38.7 per cent success rate. A total of 57 of the proposals considered had a female lead CI, of which 24 were successful, representing a 42.1 per cent success rate.

Figure 2. Participation and success rates by age and gender for Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two

Participation and success rates by age and gender for Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two

Figure 3. Comparison of Linkage Projects success rates between female and male participants from 2010 to 2016

Comparison of Linkage Projects success rates between female and male participants from 2010 to 2016

Science and Research Priorities

Table 7. Approved funding for Linkage Projects 2016 Round Two by Science and Research Priority

Priority area

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate (%)

Approved funds (over project life)

Advanced Manufacturing

42

19

45.2

$7,045,981

Cybersecurity

6

4

66.7

$1,097,000

Energy

17

8

47.1

$2,726,000

Environmental Change

15

7

46.7

$3,113,537

Food

25

7

28.0

$3,029,000

Health

39

11

28.2

$3,211,498

Resources

17

12

70.6

$4,826,385

Soil and Water

11

3

27.3

$1,967,074

Transport

7

2

28.6

$985,000

None selected

46

16

34.8

$6,142,992

Total Proposals

225

89

39.6

$34,144,467

Total Proposals within Science and Research Priorities

179

73

40.8

$28,001,475

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

79.6

82.0

 

82.0