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.

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Selection Process

This report outlines recommendations from the selection process for Linkage Projects 2017 proposals, which used a continuous submission and assessment process. Proposals were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines recommendations from the selection process for that round.

Funding recommendations have been prepared for submission to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The recommendations are 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, advice from the ARC NCGP Eligibility Committee which:

  • considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff, the ARC College of Experts or independent assessors
  • where required, sought advice 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 Linkage Projects2017proposals are:

  • Investigator(s) (25%)
  • Project Quality and Innovation (25%)
  • Feasibility (20%)
  • Benefit (30%)

The ARC assessment process for Linkage Projects 2017 used 53 College of Experts members across four discipline panels and was managed in the RMS. A total of 1649 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC for Linkage Projects 2017.

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Funding levels and duration

Funding of between $50,000 and $300,000 per annum for up to five years may be awarded for each Linkage Projects proposal.

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Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received 417 proposals for Linkage Projects 2017, none of which were withdrawn. Of the unsuccessful proposals, one was found to not meet eligibility requirements.

The overall success rate for Linkage Projects 2017 is 31.7 per cent, with a higher percentage of allocation of requested funds compared to Linkage Projects 2016.

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

Scheme Round

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 (proposals submitted 16 September - 11 November 2015)

742

231

31.1

$324,634,144

$113,128,253

$81,218,438

71.8

2016 Round Two (proposals submitted 1 July – 22 December 2016)

225

89

39.6

$103,528,803

$44,381,440

$34,144,467

76.9

2017

417

132

31.7

$202,098,882

$65,285,426

$53,330,220

81.7

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Outcomes by Discipline Panel

Table 2. Comparison of proposal numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funds for approved Linkage Projects 2017 proposals by discipline panel

Panel*

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate (%)

Requested funds over project life (all proposals considered)

Requested funds over project life (approved proposals)

Approved funds over project life (approved proposals)

Allocation as a percentage of request (%)

BEM

81

30

37.0

$43,577,860

$16,167,236

$13,132,579

81.2

ET

121

31

25.6

$57,593,242

$13,926,366

$11,708,294

84.1

HSE

129

41

31.8

$54,007,164

$17,800,204

$15,392,023

86.5

PMI

86

30

34.9

$46,920,616

$17,391,620

$13,097,324

75.3

Total

417

132

31.7

$202,098,882

$65,285,426

$53,330,220

81.7

*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.

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Outcomes by Science and Research Priorities

Table 3. Approved funding for Linkage Projects 2017 by Science and Research Priority

Priority area

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate (%)

Approved funds (over project life)

Advanced Manufacturing

70

24

34.3

$9,708,161

Cybersecurity

13

4

30.8

$1,600,000

Energy

21

5

23.8

$1,724,850

Environmental Change

62

25

40.3

$11,684,279

Food

23

10

43.5

$4,439,117

Health

70

22

31.4

$8,193,385

Resources

28

6

21.4

$2,716,698

Soil and Water

29

12

41.4

$5,815,092

Transport

21

4

19.0

$1,149,419

None selected

80

20

25.0

$6,299,219

Total Proposals

417

132

31.7

$53,330,220

Total Proposals within Science and Research Priorities

337

112

33.2

$47,031,001

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

80.8

84.8

 

88.2

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Leverage of ARC Funding

Of the 417 proposals considered, 132 were approved with a total approved funding of $53.3 million over the life of these projects. There are 298 unique Partner Organisations involved with these projects and they have pledged a total (cash and in-kind) of $103.9 million. This represents $1.95 from Partner Organisations for every dollar funded by the ARC.

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Outcomes by Administering Organisation

Table 4. Numbers of proposals, success rates, ARC approved funding and Partner Organisation contributions for approved Linkage Projects 2017 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

14

4

28.6

$1,711,297

$3,552,957

The Australian National University

13

4

30.8

$1,711,297

$3,552,957

University of Canberra

1

0

0

-

-

New South Wales

139

44

31.7

$18,393,105

$39,869,708

Charles Sturt University

1

0

0

-

-

Macquarie University

6

3

50.0

$731,906

$1,037,396

Southern Cross University

2

1

50.0

$360,000

*

The University of New England

1

0

0

-

-

The University of New South Wales

79

21

26.6

$9,180,711

$22,228,538

The University of Newcastle

7

1

14.3

$240,000

*

The University of Sydney

19

9

47.4

$5,035,771

$10,534,073

University of Technology Sydney

8

4

50.0

$1,451,786

$2,528,890

University of Wollongong

12

4

33.3

$1,022,971

$1,841,441

Western Sydney University

4

1

25.0

$369,960

*

Northern Territory

1

0

0

-

-

Charles Darwin University

1

0

0

-

-

Queensland

74

23

31.1

$9,437,961

$16,527,503

Central Queensland University

3

1

33.3

$240,519

*

Griffith University

19

3

15.8

$1,684,330

$3,333,936

James Cook University

1

0

0

-

-

Queensland University of Technology

12

3

25.0

$783,197

$1,153,740

The University of Queensland

38

16

42.1

$6,729,915

$11,749,827

University of the Sunshine Coast

1

0

0

-

-

South Australia

32

10

31.3

$3,657,331

$4,718,429

The Flinders University of South Australia

12

6

50.0

$1,091,955

$1,261,748

The University of Adelaide

15

1

6.7

$354,833

*

University of South Australia

5

3

60.0

$2,210,543

$3,048,949

Tasmania

12

6

50.0

$2,281,629

$10,176,321

University of Tasmania

12

6

50.0

$2,281,629

$10,176,321

Victoria

107

33

30.8

$13,333,129

$22,165,468

Deakin University

14

7

50.0

$2,575,315

$4,140,406

La Trobe University

2

0

0

-

-

Monash University

29

7

24.1

$2,791,931

$5,941,996

RMIT University

8

1

12.5

$511,109

*

Swinburne University of Technology

9

3

33.3

$1,060,893

$1,582,000

The University of Melbourne

44

14

31.8

$6,023,881

$9,584,266

Victoria University

1

1

100

$370,000

*

Western Australia

38

12

31.6

$4,515,768

$6,881,291

Curtin University

15

6

40.0

$2,061,261

$2,643,845

Edith Cowan University

1

0

0

-

-

Murdoch University

3

2

66.7

$711,000

$1,358,927

The University of Western Australia

19

4

21.1

$1,743,507

$2,878,519

Total

417

132

31.7

$53,330,220

$103,891,677

* 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 4 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 2017 proposals approved for funding are shown below in Table 5.

Table 5. Partner Organisation contributions by sector for approved Linkage Projects 2017 proposals

Type

 

Cash

In-kind

Total

 

 

$

%

$

%

$

%

Government

 

Australian Government

 

$2,439,913

8.8

$7,518,350

9.9

$9,958,263

9.6

Australian state, territory and local

 

$6,905,444

24.8

$15,328,706

20.2

$22,234,150

21.4

International

 

$1,167,692

4.2

$1,826,400

2.4

$2,994,092

2.9

 

Sub-total

$10,513,049

37.8

$24,673,456

32.4

$35,186,505

33.9

Industry Body

 

Australian

 

$8,935,747

32.1

$20,885,508

27.5

$29,821,255

28.7

International

 

$4,855,014

17.5

$13,724,737

18.0

$18,579,751

17.9

 

Sub-total

$13,790,761

49.6

$34,610,245

45.5

$48,401,006

46.6

Non-profit

 

Australian

 

$1,547,457

5.6

$8,516,735

11.2

$10,064,192

9.7

International

 

$154,200

0.6

$1,925,947

2.5

$2,080,147

2.0

 

Sub-total

$1,701,657

6.1

$10,442,682

13.7

$12,144,339

11.7

Higher Education

 

 International

 

$18,000

0.1

$529,993

0.7

$547,993

0.5

 

Sub-total

$18,000

0.1

$529,993

0.7

$547,993

0.5

Other

 

Other

 

$1,797,850

6.5

$5,813,984

7.6

$7,611,834

7.3

 

Sub-total

$1,797,850

6.5

$5,813,984

7.6

$7,611,834

7.3

 

Total

$27,821,317

100.0

$76,070,360

100.0

$103,891,677

100.0

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

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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 340 instances of collaboration with Partner Organisations (including multiple collaborations with a number of organisations) in Linkage Projects 2017 giving an average of 2.58 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 6.

Table 6. Proposal data by Field of Research category for Linkage Projects 2017

Field of Research category

Number of proposals approved#

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

Physical Sciences

3

$2,226,041

Chemical Sciences

6

$7,557,391

Earth Sciences

11

$21,638,334

Environmental Sciences

12

$11,332,647

Biological Sciences

8

$5,923,318

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

8

$4,754,494

Information and Computing Sciences

10

$5,186,612

Engineering

24

$14,861,164

Technology

7

$5,526,073

Medical and Health Sciences

6

$4,150,127

Built Environment and Design

2

$1,046,720

Economics

4

$1,363,548

Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

2

$435,101

Studies in Human Society

13

$9,336,150

Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

4

$2,665,360

Law and Legal Studies

1

*

Studies in Creative Arts and Writing

3

$2,430,612

Language, Communication and Culture

2

$542,902

History and Archaeology

6

$2,567,654

Total

132

$103,891,677

# 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 6 total does, however, include the total contributions by Partner Organisations on approved Projects associated with those FoR codes.

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Age and Gender

A total of 2250 participants were named on all proposals considered in this round. Of these, 629 were female, 1616 were male and five have chosen to not specify their gender).

Figure 1 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 Projectsproposals is 33.4 per cent and 34.3 per cent respectively. A total of 312 of the proposals considered had a male lead CI, of which 105 were successful, representing a 33.7 per cent success rate. A total of 104 of the proposals considered had a female lead CI, of which 27 were successful, representing a 26.0 per cent success rate.

Figure 1. Participation and success rates by age and gender for Linkage Projects 2017

 

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International Collaboration

Figure 2.   Instances of international collaboration on approved proposals in Linkage Projects 2017

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