Industrial Transformation Training Centres Selection Report for funding commencing in 2023
The Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme fosters close partnerships between university-based researchers and other researchers. Training Centres deliver innovative Higher Degree by Research (HDR) and postdoctoral training. The focus is on creating end-user research capability that is vital to Australia's future through developing solutions relevant to the Industrial Transformation Priorities.
The objectives of the Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme are to:
- support HDR candidates and postdoctoral researchers to undertake industrial training
- support research collaboration between universities and organisations outside the Australian higher education sector and
- strengthen the capabilities of industry and research end-users in identified Industrial Transformation Priority areas.
Applications for funding commencing in 2023 opened on 21 October 2022 and closed on 15 December 2022. Applications were submitted through the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines outcomes from the selection process for that round.
These outcomes are based on advice from the Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) which:
- assessed applications and reviewed assessments made by independent assessors
- reviewed applicants’ comments on assessors’ reports
- ranked each application relative to the others on the basis of the application, the assessors’ reports and applicants’ responses to those assessments
- assessed and recommended budgets and
- approved application feedback
and advice from the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program Eligibility Committee which:
- considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff, the members of the SAC or independent assessors
- where required, sought advice from the ARC's Medical Research Advisory Group and
- made recommendations to the CEO in respect of ineligible applications.
This report reflects the outcomes approved by the Minister.
Assessment criteria and corresponding weightings for Industrial Transformation Training Centres applications are:
- Investigator(s)/Capability (20%)
- demonstrated Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence (ROPE) of the proposed team including:
- evidence of experience in managing distributed and/or collaborative industrial and end-user focussed research
- evidence of significant outcomes on industry related projects
- evidence of experience in and capacity to provide effective supervision, support and mentoring for HDR candidates and postdoctoral researchers over the life of the Training Centre;
- appropriateness of team research track record to achieve the Training Centre’s goals
- time and capacity of the team to undertake and manage the proposed research in collaboration with the Partner Organisation(s).
- Project Quality and Innovation (30%)
Describe the extent to which:
- the aims, concepts, methods and outcomes will drive growth, productivity and competitiveness within relevant sectors
- the project builds skills and capacity in end-user focussed research
- the conceptual/theoretical framework is genuinely integrated, cross-disciplinary, innovative and original and
- how the Training Centre has a wide level of collaboration, including the development of national and international networks and linkages.
- Feasibility and Commitment (20%)
- extent to which the proposed Training Centre represents value for money
- practicality of the proposed project objectives, budget and timeframe (including identified risks and mitigation strategies)
- proposed level of collaboration to support the research project
- high quality intellectual support provided for the Training Centre by the research environment of the participating organisations
- availability of and access to necessary facilities required to support the proposed research (physical, technical, access to infrastructure, etc)
- capacity of each Partner Organisation(s) to support the Training Centre (including the plan for student placements)
- extent to which the proposed Training Centre will engage, and will continue to engage, meaningfully with the relevant industry experts including Industry Growth Centre(s)
- commitment by each Partner Organisation(s) to collaboration in the Training Centre and
- Partner Organisation(s) facilities and personnel contribution to the effective supervision, on-site training, support and mentoring for the HDR candidates and postdoctoral researchers over the life of the project.
If the project involves research pertaining to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities describe:
- the strategies for enabling collaboration with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities (for example, dialogue/collaboration with an Indigenous cultural mentor)
- any existing or developing, supportive and high-quality relationships with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities and
- any personal affiliations with local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities that can facilitate the proposed research.
- Benefit (30%)
- the extent to which the research clearly addresses one or more of the Industrial Transformation Priorities
- the economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits for relevant Australian research end-users (including relevant industry and manufacturing sectors)
- the extent to which the proposed Training Centre supports clearly identified market opportunity(ies) and intended transformation for Australian industry or other end users
- the extent to which the proposed Training Centre will build the ability to exploit research outcomes in the Partner Organisations
- the extent to which there are adequate strategies to encourage disseminations and promotion of research outcomes
- the potential contribution of the proposed research to addressing the needs of industries and communities as articulated in Australia’s Industrial Transformation Priorities and
- where relevant, the extent to which the applicants have identified the freedom to operate in the Intellectual Property and patent landscape to enable future benefits to industry.
The ARC assessment and reporting process for Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 involved a panel of 13 SAC members and was managed in RMS. A total of 62 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC for Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023.
Funding levels and duration
Funding of between $650,000 and $1 million per annum for the first 3 years and between $150,000 and $1 million per annum for the fourth year may be awarded for each Industrial Transformation Training Centre. There is no minimum for the fifth year and a maximum of $1 million.
Summary of outcomes
The ARC received 23 applications for Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023. All 23 applications met eligibility requirements.
As shown in Table 1, 8 applications are approved for funding. The overall success rate is 34.8 per cent. A comparison of success rates and funding amounts is shown in Table 2.
Table 1. Details of approved Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023
|Training Centre Title||Administering Organisation||Training Centre Director||Approved funds over project life|
|ARC Training Centre for Automated Vehicles in Rural and Remote Regions||Queensland University of Technology||Prof Sebastien Glaser||$5,000,000|
|ARC Training Centre for Whole Life Design of Carbon Neutral Infrastructure||RMIT University||Prof Chun-Qing Li||$5,000,000|
|ARC Training Centre in Predictive Breeding for Agricultural Futures||The University of Queensland||Prof Lee Hickey||$5,000,000|
|ARC Training Centre in Plant Biosecurity||The Australian National University||Prof Peter Solomon||$5,000,000|
|ARC Training Centre in Critical Resources for the Future||The University of Western Australia||Prof Marco Fiorentini||$5,000,000|
|ARC Training Centre for Radiation Innovation||The Australian National University||Prof Mahananda Dasgupta||$4,999,600|
|ARC Training Centre for Battery Recycling||The University of Adelaide||Prof Shizhang Qiao||$5,000,000|
|ARC Training Centre for Radiochemical Technologies and Precision Radiopharmaceuticals||Monash University||Prof Andrea Robinson||$5,000,000|
Table 2. Comparison of application numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for approved applications from Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2022 and 2023*
|Funding year||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate
|Requested funds over project life - all applications||Requested funds over project life - approved applications||Funds allocated over project life* - approved applications||Allocation as a percentage of request (%)|
*May include indicative funding amounts
Outcomes by discipline
A summary of outcomes by discipline grouping is shown in Table 3.
Table 3. Number of applications, success rates and requested and allocated funds for approved Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 applications by discipline
|Discipline*||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)||Requested funds over project life for all applications considered ($)||Requested funds over project life for approved applications ($)||Funds over project life for approved applications ($)||Return Rate for approved applications (%)|
*BSB – Biological Sciences and Biotechnology; EIC –Engineering and Information Sciences; MPCE – Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Outcomes by Administering Organisation
Institutions across 5 Australian States and 2 Territories submitted applications for Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023. In addition to ARC funding, significant contributions are made by participating organisations as shown in Table 4.
Table 4. Numbers of applications, success rates and ARC funding for approved Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023
|Administering Organisation||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)||ARC approved funding over project life (approved applications)||Participating organisation*# contributions
(cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)
|Australian Capital Territory||2||2||100.0||$9,999,600||$28,713,482|
|The Australian National University||2||2||100.0||$9,999,600||$28,713,482|
|New South Wales||5||0||0.0||$0||$0|
|The University of New South Wales||1||0||0.0||$0||$0|
|The University of Sydney||3||0||0.0||$0||$0|
|University of Technology Sydney||1||0||0.0||$0||$0|
|Charles Darwin University||1||0||0.0||$0||$0|
|Queensland University of Technology||3||1||33.3||$5,000,000||$16,859,432|
|The University of Queensland||3||1||33.3||$5,000,000||$131,847,902|
|The University of Adelaide||1||1||100.0||$5,000,000||$9,921,174|
|La Trobe University||1||0||0.0||$0||$0|
|The University of Melbourne||2||0||0.0||$0||$0|
|The University of Western Australia||1||1||100.0||$5,000,000||$17,694,793|
* Participating Organisations include the Administering Organisation, Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations and Other Organisations.
# Participating Organisation contributions are shown by organisation type in Table 4.
Participating organisation contributions by organisation type
As shown in Table 5, contributions to Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 from Partner Organisations total over $170 million, 75 per cent of the total organisation contributions to successful Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023.
Table 5. Participating organisation contributions by organisation type for approved Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 applications
|Organisation type||Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)|
|Other Eligible Organisation||$24,581,189|
Partner Organisation contributions by sector
Partner Organisations were identified as either Australian State, Territory and local government, Australian Federal government, company industry body (Australian and International) non-profit (Australian and International), overseas higher education organisations and other contributions. The Partner Organisation contributions in these categories for applications approved for funding in 2023 are shown in Table 6.
Table 6. Partner Organisation contributions by sector for approved Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 applications
|Australian State, Territory and Local Government||$3,065,711||12.42||$15,294,934||10.50||$18,360,645||10.78|
|Australian Federal Government||$630,000||2.55||$6,481,003||4.45||$7,111,003||4.17|
|Australian Company Industry Body||$17,935,000||72.63||$110,966,441||76.17||$128,901,441||75.65|
|International Company Industry Body||$1,862,000||7.54||$5,519,382||3.79||$7,381,382||4.33|
|Australian Non Profit||$950,000||3.85||$4,030,142||2.77||$4,980,142||2.92|
|Higher Education International||$0||0.00||$2,213,825||1.52||$2,213,825||1.30|
Note: All totals and percentages are shown using rounded figures, and as such may not sum.
*For confidentiality reasons, total contributions by Partner Organisations are not shown in instances in which contributions are associated with one approved application only.
Leverage of ARC funding
Of the 23 applications considered, 8 were approved with a total approved funding, over the life of these projects, of $39,999,600. There are 129 unique Partner Organisations involved, committing a total of $170,384,803 in cash and in-kind funding. This represents $4.26 from Partner Organisations for every dollar of funding from the ARC.
Industrial Transformation Priorities
As shown in Table 7, applications for Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 were submitted in all 9 Industrial Transformation Priorities.
Table 7. Instances of identified Industrial Transformation Priorities in Industrial Transformation Training Centres applications approved for funding commencing in 2023
|Industrial Transformation Priorities||Instances in applications considered*||Instances in applications approved*|
|Food, Beverage, and Agribusiness||7||3|
|Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals||7||2|
|Mining Equipment, Resources Technology and Services, Critical Minerals Processing||6||3|
|Oil, Gas and Energy Resources||1||0|
|Recycling and Clean Energy||4||2|
* A single application may select multiple Industrial Transformation Priorities
Science and Research Priorities
As shown in Table 8, 23 applications for Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 selected a Science and Research Priority.
Table 8. Approved funding for Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 by Science and Research Priority
|Priority area||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)||Approved funds (over project life)|
|Total within Science and Research Priorities||23||8||34.8||$39,999,600|
|Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)||100.0||100.0||100.0|
Field of Research categories
Table 9. Application data by Field of Research category for Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023
|Field of Research category||Applications considered||Applications approved||ARC approved funding over project life (approved applications)||Participating Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)|
|Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences||3||1||$5,000,000||$131,847,902|
|Information and Computing Sciences||3||1||$5,000,000||$16,859,432|
A total of 817 participants were named as a Training Centre Director, Chief Investigator or Partner Investigator on applications considered in this round. Of these, 550 are male, 257 are female, one indeterminate/intersex and 9 participants chose not to specify their gender. The success rates for male, female, indeterminate/intersex and unspecified participants are 67.1 per cent, 32.3 per cent, 0.3 and 0.3 per cent respectively.
As shown in Figure 1, there are 28 instances where a total of 17 countries are participating in the approved Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023.
Figure 1. Instances of international collaboration on approved Industrial Transformation Training Centres commencing in 2023 applications