Selection Report: Australian Laureate Fellowships 2023
The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to excellence in research by supporting world-class researchers to conduct research in Australia.
- support ground-breaking, internationally-competitive basic and applied research;
- forge strong links among researchers, the international research community and/or industry and other research end-users;
- enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas;
- attract and retain outstanding researchers and research leaders of international reputation; and
- provide an excellent research training environment and exemplary mentorship to nurture early-career researchers.
Applications for funding commencing in 2023 opened on 14 September 2022 and closed on 9 November 2022. Applications were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines outcomes from the selection process for that round.
These outcomes are based on advice from the ARC Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) which:
- assessed applications and reviewed assessments made by independent assessors
- reviewed candidates’ comments on assessors’ reports
- ranked each application relative to the others on the basis of the application, the assessors’ reports and candidates’ responses to those assessments
- assessed and recommended budgets;
and, advice from the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) Eligibility Committee which:
- considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff, the members of the ARC SAC or independent assessors
- where required, sought advice from the ARC’s Medical Research Advisory Group
- made recommendations to the CEO in respect of ineligible applications.
This report reflects the outcomes approved by the Minister. Unless otherwise specified, data represented in this report exclude withdrawn applications.
All applications that meet the eligibility criteria for the Australian Laureate Fellowships 2023 applications were assessed and merit ranked using the following assessment criteria:
- Investigator/Capability (40%)
- Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence (ROPE) including:
- outstanding research outputs and achievements taking into account research opportunity;
- evidence for and/or potential to undertake ground-breaking research;
- leadership ability and plans to build world class research capacity and diverse teams; and
- potential to create an enduring legacy.
- extent to which the candidate will build collaborations across research organisations and/or industry and/or with other disciplines both within Australia and internationally.
- Project quality and innovation (25%)
- contribution to an important gap in knowledge or significant problem;
- novelty/originality and innovation of the proposed research (including any new methods, technologies, theories or ideas that will be developed);
- clarity of the hypothesis, theories and research questions;
- cohesiveness of the project design and implementation plan (including the appropriateness of the aim, conceptual framework, method, data and/or analyses);
- extent to which the research has the potential to enhance international collaboration; and
- extent to which the research will be cost-effective and represents value for money.
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 (10%)
Describe the potential benefits including the:
- new or advanced knowledge resulting from outcomes of the research;
- economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits for Australia and international communities; and
- potential contribution to capacity in the Australian Government priority areas.
- Mentoring and capacity building (25%)
- Mentoring, including the extent to which the candidate demonstrates:
- exceptional ability to supervise and mentor postdoctoral researchers and other early-mid career researchers; and
- they will be providing a suitable environment for postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
- Capacity building, including:
- the extent to which the project will build new teams and create world-class research capacity, collaboration and innovation;
- the extent to which the candidate demonstrates exceptional leadership and the organisational ability to ensure the development of scale and focus in research;
- evidence of the project’s and researchers’ potential to attract financial resources to enhance research capacity; and
- the extent to which this research builds new international research collaboration or links between research and industry.
The ARC assessment process for Australian Laureate Fellowships 2023 involved 15 SAC members on one multi-discipline panel and was managed in RMS. A total of 405 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC.
Funding levels and duration
Australian Laureate Fellowships projects are funded for five years on a full-time basis, subject to sufficient scheme funding, the provisions of the Australian Research Council Act 2001 (the ARC Act) and continued satisfactory progress of the Australian Laureate Fellowships project.
It is a requirement of the Grant Guidelines for the Discovery Program (2021 edition) Variation No. 1 for the Administering Organisation to provide a salary of Level E professorial appointment (or equivalent) to the Australian Laureate Fellowship. The salary provided by the ARC of $173,758 (2022$) per annum including 30 per cent on-costs contributes to that salary.
In addition to the Australian Laureate Fellowship salary supplement and salary-related (on-cost) support, the ARC may provide Australian Laureate Fellows with:
- additional funding for up to two postdoctoral research associates for five years each and up to two postgraduate researchers for four years each; and
- project funding of up to $300,000 per annum (for up to five years).
Summary of outcomes
The ARC received a total of 119 applications for Australian Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2023.
Seventeen Australian Laureate Fellows are approved for funding commencing in 2023, shown in Table 1. The overall success rate for Australian Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2023 is 14.3 per cent. The total indicative funding approved is $53.9 million over five financial years (Tables 2 and 4). A comparison of success rates and funding amounts is shown in Table 2.
Of the unsuccessful applications in 2023, none were found not to meet eligibility requirements.
Table 1. Australian Laureate Fellows approved for funding commencing in 2023
|Fellowship candidate||Administering Organisation|
|Professor Xuemei Bai||The Australian National University|
|Professor Jacqueline Batley||The University of Western Australia|
|Professor Janeen Baxter||The University of Queensland|
|Professor Joshua Cinner||James Cook University|
|Professor Terry Flew||The University of Sydney|
|Professor Gary Froyland||The University of New South Wales|
|Professor Matthew Hornsey||The University of Queensland|
|Professor Jane McAdam||The University of New South Wales|
|Professor Nam-Trung Nguyen||Griffith University|
|Professor Sarah Pink||Monash University|
|Professor Catherine Stampfl||The University of Sydney|
|Professor Willy Susilo||University of Wollongong|
|Professor Gene Tyson||Queensland University of Technology|
|Professor Shaobin Wang||The University of Adelaide|
|Professor Geordie Williamson||The University of Sydney|
|Professor Yusuke Yamauchi||The University of Queensland|
|Professor Alpha Yap||The University of Queensland|
* Biographies for the 17 Australian Laureate Fellows will be available on the ARC website.
Table 2. Comparison of application numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for approved Australian Laureate Fellowships applications from 2022 to 2023.
|Funding year||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)||Requested funds over project life for all applications considered ($)||Requested funds over project life for approved applications ($)||Funds allocated over project life for approved applications ($)||Return rate for approved applications (%)|
Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship
Of the 32 female Australian Laureate Fellowship candidates, 29 applied for a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship or a Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship.
The recipients of the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship (awarded to a highly ranked candidate from the Humanities, Arts and Social Science disciplines) and the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship (awarded to a highly ranked candidate from the Science and Technology disciplines) are provided with additional funding to undertake an ambassadorial role to promote women in research and to mentor early career researchers, particularly women, to encourage them to enter and establish careers in research in Australia.
The assessment for these prestigious Fellowships takes place in two stages. Applicants who have indicated interest in either a Georgina Sweet or Kathleen Fitzpatrick Fellowship must first be successful as an Australian Laureate Fellow. Only when the SAC has recommended them as Australian Laureate Fellows will an applicant be assessed for a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship or a Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship.
The 2023 recipients of the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship are shown in Table 3.
Table 3. 2023 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship
|Fellowship Type||Approved candidate||Administering Organisation|
|Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowships||Prof Catherine Stampfl||The University of Sydney|
|Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship||Prof Janeen Baxter||The University of Queensland|
Table 4. Indicative funds for approved Australian Laureate Fellowships 2023 applications
|Australian Laureate Fellowship Salary including on-costs||$2,953,886||$2,953,886||$2,953,886||$2,953,886||$2,953,886||$14,769,430|
|ARC Postdoctoral Researchers||$3,627,256||$3,627,256||$3,627,256||$3,627,256||$3,627,256||$18,136,280|
|ARC Postgraduate Researchers||$606,270||$981,580||$981,580||$981,580||$375,310||$3,926,320|
Outcomes by discipline
A summary of outcomes by discipline panel is shown in Table 5.
Table 5. Application numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funds for Australian Laureate Fellowships 2023 by discipline.
|Discipline *||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)||Requested funds over project life for all applications considered ($)||Requested funds over project life for approved applications ($)||Funds over project
life for approved applications ($)
Rate for approved applications (%)
*BSB = Biological Sciences and Biotechnology; EIC = Engineering, Information and Computing Sciences; HCA = Humanities and Creative Arts; MPCE = Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences; SBE = Social, Behavioural and Economics Sciences
Outcomes by Administering Organisation
The Administering Organisations of the 17 applications approved for funding are:
- Griffith University (1)
- James Cook University (1)
- Monash University (1)
- Queensland University of Technology (1)
- The Australian National University (1)
- The University of Adelaide (1)
- The University of New South Wales (2)
- The University of Queensland (4)
- The University of Sydney (3)
- The University of Western Australia (1)
- University of Wollongong (1)
Career age and gender
Of the 119 Australian Laureate Fellowship candidates in this round, 32 were female, 86 were male and 1 chose not to specify gender. The success rate for female, male and unspecified candidates in this round is 18.8 per cent, 12.8 per cent and 0.0 per cent respectively.
Success rates of Australian Laureate Fellowship candidates by career age and gender in the current Australian Laureate Fellowship round are presented in Figure 1. Candidates who did not provide gender information (0.8 per cent) and candidates who did not specify the date of completion of their PhD or who do not hold a PhD (0.8 per cent) are not represented in the figure below.
Figure 1. Participation and success rate of Australian Laureate Fellowships 2023 candidate by gender and career age*
* Career age is calculated as years since PhD. The earliest PhD award date was used where there was more than one PhD.
Attracting and retaining outstanding researchers
Applications were open to Eligible Organisations to nominate candidates who are world-class researchers of international repute, resident either within Australia or overseas (Table 7).
Table 7. Citizenship/residency status of Australian Laureate Fellowships 2023 candidates and approved Awardees
|Citizenship/residency status||Applications considered||% of Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)|
Note: All totals and percentages are shown using rounded figures, and as such may not sum.
Among 119 of the applications considered, applicants foreshadowed 633 instances of collaboration with researchers in 79 overseas locations. Of the applications approved for funding, 17 foreshadowed 82 instances of collaboration with researchers in 29 overseas locations (Figure 2).
Figure 2. International collaborations by location in approved Australian Laureate Fellowships 2023 applications*
*The top 9 international collaboration locations are listed in Figure 2 and the remaining are grouped in the ‘Other’ category.