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Methodology and Data Notes

The trend visualisation contains selected summary statistics intended to provide an overview of ARC funding under the NCGP since its inception. 2002 is used as the start year as the small number of projects funded in 2001 are insufficient for analysis.


The information contained in this dataset is limited to what was current at the time grant applications (previously called proposals) were approved and announced for funding and accordingly excludes any post-award variations that may subsequently have been approved1.

For example:

  • the funding may not have been taken up by the investigator(s) after the project was awarded;
  • the scope of the research activity may have changed if the amount allocated was less than that requested;
  • investigators may have been added to, or removed, from the project;
  • a project may have been transferred between Administering Organisations;
  • a project may have prematurely ceased;
  • a project may have been extended for funding for more years following ARC review;
  • a project may have been funded from a reserve list after major funding announcement; or
  • a project may have been funded after an Appeal process.

Funding amounts represent only the ARC's portion of the funding including those for projects where grant payments are co-funded or co-contributed.

Actual amounts paid to Administering Organisations for approved research projects will vary from the original funds shown here due to indexation of payments and other post award funding variations.

1Some Centres of Excellence and some SRIs have had funding extensions approved post award, which due to the amount of funding, may be included in the dataset

How up to date is the data?

The data is updated following every scheme round announcement.

The date of the latest data update is on every page.

For information on grants including post award variations, see ARC Grants Search.


The definitions provided are generic by intent. It provides a general explanation of how the terms are used in this context. Grant guidelines (previously funding rules) should be consulted for specific information for each grant opportunity.



Funding Commencement Year

The calendar year in which funding for a funded project commences. This may be different to the Scheme Round Start Year.

Scheme Round Start Year

The calendar year in which a project was scheduled to start when successful. This may differ from the funding commencement year, especially those in continuous Linkage Projects scheme.

This measure is used when calculating success rates.

Scheme Round

This is a selection round for a specific scheme. It is usually labelled as the scheme name and then the year a successful project will start
(e.g. Discovery Projects 2020)


The (Australian) state or territory where the Administering Organisation is located.

Administering Organisation

An eligible organisation which submits a project application for funding and which will be responsible for the administration of the funding if the application is approved. Eligibility is detailed in the scheme round grant guidelines.

Where a University has changed its name over the years, the latest name is used in the dataset.


A project application approved by the Minister to receive funding from the ARC.


Any research investigators participating on a project, as listed on the project application, including Chief Investigators (CI), Partner Investigators (PI) and Fellows as well as other named participants such as mentors, directors, supervisors etc. Eligibility is detailed in the scheme round grant guidelines.

Unique Chief Investigators 

The number includes all researchers named as Chief Investigators or equivalent on research applications. The uniqueness indicates a researcher is included in the total number just once no matter how many times she/he might have been funded in different schemes over a specified period of time.


The amount of funds approved by the Minister at announcement.

The amount of funds is the full amount of the grant. For reporting purposes, the full amount is allocated to the funding commencement year. Actual funds may not be paid until later years.


The funding scheme under which the research funding was awarded. The NCGP comprises two funding programs: Discovery and Linkage, under which each funding scheme sits.

Primary Field of Research (FoR) code 

The FoR is part of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)  – the collective name for a set of three related classifications developed for use in the measurement and analysis of research and experimental development undertaken in Australia and New Zealand. 

The Primary FoR refers to the main field of research at the Group (4-digit) or Division (2-digit) level. Applicants are invited to classify their proposals with one to three (or more in some rounds) 6-digit FoR codes and to indicate the proportion of the research content attributable to each of those codes. 

For each application, the ARC 'rolls up' the 6-digit FoR codes, based on their combined proportions, to derive a Division or Research Group 'primary' code as the main research field of the application.

Projects originally classified using RFCD codes have been translated to an equivalent FoR classification. For more information see the Classification Codes page.

The trend visualisation uses the 2008 ANZSRC FoR classification.

International Collaboration

Recorded as an indication of the intention of the applicant to collaborate with an organisation or person from that country.

Research priorities

National Research Priorities (NRP) were established in 2003 by the then Federal Government. There were four Priority areas. Applicants were invited to indicate on their proposal whether or not the research falls within a research priority and if so, to select one Priority area and up to six Priority Goals under the selected Priority area. The NRP were replaced by Strategic Research Priorities (SRP) in 2013 and National Science and Research Priorities (NSRP) in 2015, respectively. 

Success rate

Number of projects funded divided by the number of applications received within specified categories, such as year, scheme or Primary FoR. Success rate for a scheme is usually calculated on the basis of Scheme Round Start Year. A project may have a Scheme Round Start Year that differs from the Funding Commencement Year, especially those awarded in the continuous Linkage Projects scheme.

Return rate  The return rate is calculated based on the funding amount of a project compared to the amount of funds requested in the application for the project. The return rate is shown as a percentage. If the amount of funds requested for a scheme round is unknown or zero, the return rate is not shown in the trend visualisation. In calculating the return rates, projects with unknown or zero funding request have been excluded from the scheme round.  

Number of applications

Number of applications excludes any that have been withdrawn (usually before the ARC selection meetings) and is expressed as total number.

ARC schemes

ARC funding is provided through two programs—Discovery and Linkage. Specific schemes under these programs have varied across the years. The schemes that are currently active are hyperlinked in the table below.

You can read more about the ARC’s programs and schemes on the NCGP page.

Discovery Program

Discovery Projects

The Discovery Projects (DP) scheme is the ARC’s flagship scheme, and has been in operation since 2002. The scheme is implemented once a year and has been transformed over the years. The scheme was changed in 2012 to only include Chief Investigators as named participants (that is, the fellowship components previously available under the scheme were removed). The scheme now supports excellent research and funding is typically for three years, but in the range of one to five years.

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

The Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme was established for funding commencing in 2012 and is operational once a year. It is aimed at supporting researchers at early career stage and each award is for three years.

Future Fellowships

The Future Fellowships scheme was established in 2008 as a specific government initiative to fund 1000 fellows over four years. In 2014, the Australian Government announced that the Future Fellowships scheme would be established as an ongoing scheme. In 2015 only 50 researchers were approved for funding. From 2016 onwards, funding has been made available for up to 100 fellowships to be awarded each year.

Australian Laureate Fellowships

Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme was launched for funding in 2011, after cessation of Federation Fellowship scheme. It is the ARC’s most prestigious award and operational once a year. The scheme provides funding for five years to each fellowship recipient.

Discovery Indigenous

The Discovery Indigenous scheme replaced the Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development scheme in 2012. The scheme supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. The scheme is operational once a year and supports research from one to five years.

Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development     

The Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development scheme ceased operation in 2011 after inception in 2002. The scheme was aimed at funding research and researchers relating to Aboriginal matters.

Federation Fellowships

Federation Fellowships scheme supported the best researchers by primarily providing salary to the fellowship recipient. The scheme ceased operation in 2008 and was replaced by Australian Laureate Fellowships, with a different structure of the funding components.

Super Science Fellowships

Only two selection rounds were conducted for Super Science Fellowships scheme—for funding commencing in 2010 and 2011.

Linkage Program

ARC Centre of Excellence

ARC Centre of Excellence are funded for seven years each, with funding possibly amounting to $30 million across the project life. The scheme is operational in selected years and has provided funding for commencing in 2003, 2005, 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2020. Four co-funded Centres are grouped into this scheme in the database with funding commencing in 2002 (Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics), 2003 (NICTA—National ICT Australia and Stem Cell Australia), and 2008 (Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics).

Industrial Transformation Research Program

The Industrial Transformation Research Program, that is Industrial Transformation Research Hubs and Industrial Transformation Training Centres were introduced in 2012.

Industrial Transformation Research Hubs

The Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme supports collaborative research activity, between the Australian higher education sector and industry, designed to focus on strategic outcomes that are not independently realisable. Each hub in the scheme typically runs for five years and funding can be around $5 million across the project life.

Industrial Transformation Training Centres

Industrial Transformation Training Centres started operation in 2013 and is generally funded once a year. The scheme fosters partnerships between university-based researchers and other research end-users to provide Higher Degree by Research (HDR) and postdoctoral training. Each Centre is funded for five years with funding around $5 million across the project life.

Linkage Projects

Linkage Projects is another flagship scheme since its inception in 2002. Selection rounds for the Linkage Projects scheme were conducted twice a year until 2013. From 2016 - 2019 application submission was on a continuous basis. In 2020, there are three advertised deadlines for application submission. The scheme typically funds projects for three years but in the range of one and five years.

Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects

Learned Academies Special Projects is a small scheme to provide funding for special projects undertaken by the Learned Academies. The scheme is not operational every year. Data for the Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects scheme is only available for funding commencing in 2014 and 2017.

Linkage CSIRO

Linkage CSIRO was operational in 2002 only, with funding provided to projects in collaboration with CSIRO.

Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities

Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) started funding in 2002 and is operational once a year. The scheme typically funds projects requesting funding for one year but funding duration can vary from one to five years.

Linkage International

Linkage International provided funding for both Australian and overseas researchers to travel between Australia and other countries. The scheme ceased operation in 2009 and this sort of funding is now provided as part of the Discovery Projects scheme.

Research Networks

Research Networks was designed for implementation in 2004 for one year only.

Special Research Initiatives

Special Research Initiatives is a scheme to address particular needs of research of national importance at the time. Projects can be large and small and run for one year or more than five years depending on the requirement of the research. The scheme can be operational more than once a year or not operational at all in a year.

Supporting Responses to Commonwealth Science Council Priorities

Supporting Responses to Commonwealth Science Council Priorities was funded in 2018 only.

Thinking Systems

Thinking Systems was operational for funding commencing in 2006 only.

STEM/HASS allocation

  • STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • HASS means Humanities and Social Sciences

STEM and HASS research fields are identified in the following table:


Division code

Research Field



Mathematical Sciences



Physical Sciences



Chemical Sciences



Earth Sciences



Environmental Sciences



Biological Sciences



Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences



Information and Computing Sciences









Medical and Health



Psychology and Cognitive Sciences



Built Environment and Design









Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services



Studies in Human Society



Law and Legal Studies



Studies in Creative Arts and Writing



Language, Communication and Culture



History and Archaeology



Philosophy and Religious Studies

Administering Organisations

While eligibility may be varied from time to time to meet the requirements of targeted initiatives identified by the Australian Government, in most circumstances the only organisations eligible to administer ARC funding are Australian Universities, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

The only exceptions to this are under Learned Academies Special Projects and Supporting Responses to Commonwealth Science Priorities where the eligible organisations are the Learned Academies and the Australian Council of Learned Academies.

Where university names have changed over the years, only the most up to date name appears in the data.

University Groups

University Groups have been identified using established peak bodies. These University Groups include:

  • Australian Technology Network of Universities
  • Group of Eight Universities
  • Innovative Research Universities
  • Regional University Network






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