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Selection Report: Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023



The primary goal of the Industry Fellowship Program is to create a pathway to support academic researchers in establishing careers in industry, and industry-based researchers to work in university settings, with the aim of increased two-way mobility and skill-building in research collaboration, translation and commercialisation. The Schemes will also drive research collaboration, translation and commercialisation outcomes across a range of industry settings.

The objectives of the Industry Laureate Fellowships scheme are to:

  • provide leadership in the development of high quality and impactful collaborations between university and industry personnel.
  • fund significant programs of research that deliver step-changes across a variety of industry settings.
  • provide an excellent research training environment and exemplary mentorship to nurture the development of collaboration, commercialisation and translation skills among early career researchers and Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students; and
  • attract and retain, within Australia, outstanding researchers and research leaders of international reputation with demonstrated capacity of collaboration, commercialisations and/or translation.

Selection process

Applications for Industry Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2023 opened on 6 October 2022 and closed on 17 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 recommendations are based on advice from the ARC Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) which:

  • assessed applications and reviewed assessments made by independent assessors;
  • ranked each application relative to the others on the basis of the application, and the independent assessors’ reports; and
  • assessed and recommended budgets.

Advice was also provided 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 and 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.

Assessment criteria

All applications that meet the eligibility criteria for the Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 were assessed and merit ranked using the following assessment criteria:

  1. Impact (25%)
  • The significance of the industry challenge or opportunity being addressed in the research project;
  • The case for industry transformation upon successful completion of the Fellowship;
  • The potential for short-, medium- or long-term research impact, translation and/or commercialisation beyond the Fellowship completion; and
  • The appropriateness and effectiveness of the pathways to impact, and related activities to support research translation and/or commercialisation, including IP arrangements.
  1. Commitment and Alignment (25%)
  • The mutual benefit to the Fellow, the Fellow’s team, and Key Industry Partner including potential to lead to longer-term collaboration;
  • Strength of engagement between the Fellow, other project research participants and Key Industry Partner, including previous projects, and interactions to date on the proposed project; and
  • The extent to which all parties demonstrate a commitment to the success of the project and to establishing a collaborative relationship, including the industry partners’ financial and/or in-kind contributions.
  1. Candidate Capability (30%)
  • The extent to which the candidate’s skills and experience, relative to opportunity, ensure they will drive the achievement of the goals of the programs of research;
  • The candidate’s capacity to lead a high-quality program of ground-breaking, internationally competitive research undertaken by a research team in collaboration with industry and/or other research end-user groups;
  • The candidate's potential to create an enduring legacy through acting as a senior academic-end user ambassador; and
  • The candidate’s ability to build world class research translation/commercialisation capabilities and end-user connections within diverse teams.
  1. Research Quality and Innovation (20%)
  • The clarity of the aim and conceptual framework and the appropriateness of the research method(s) to the industry challenge or opportunity;
  • Clear innovation by the Key Partner including in the design, method and delivery of the research;
  • The novelty of the proposed program of research and its potential to transform current bodies of knowledge and practices; and
  • The feasibility of the proposed research in terms of the design of the program of research, participants, requested duration, required resources/facilities, risk management and appropriateness of the budget.

If the project involves Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander research, additional criteria include:

Assessment process

The ARC assessment process for Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 involved 15 Selection Advisory Committee members comprising of members from the ARC College of Experts and experts from Industry on one multi-discipline panel. The process was managed in RMS. In addition, independent assessors submitted a total of 373 reports to the ARC to support the assessment process.

Funding levels and duration

Industry Laureate Fellowships projects are funded for 4 to 5 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 Industry Laureate Fellowships project.

It is a requirement of the Grant Guidelines for the Industry Fellowship Program (Variation No. 1, 2022 edition) for the Administering Organisation to provide a Level E professorial appointment (or equivalent) and salary for the duration of 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 Industry Laureate Fellowship salary and salary-related (on-cost) support, the ARC will provide Industry Laureate Fellows with:

  1. additional funding for 2 postdoctoral research associates for 4 to 5 years each and for 2 postgraduate researchers for 4 years each; and
  2. project funding not exceeding $1.5 million over the duration of the grant
  3. Up to $20,000 per year (additional to project funding) to support ambassadorial work promoting industry-university collaboration.

Summary of outcomes

The ARC received a total of 116 applications for Industry Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2023.

Eight Industry Laureate Fellows are approved for funding commencing in 2023, shown in Table 1. The overall success rate for Industry Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2023 is 6.9%. The total indicative funding approved is $27,709,549 over 5 financial years (Tables 2 and 3). A break-down of success rates and funding amounts is shown in Table 2.

Of the unsuccessful applications in 2023, two were found not to meet eligibility requirements.

Table 1.  Industry Laureate Fellows approved for funding commencing in 2023.

Fellowship candidate Administering Organisation
Associate Professor Phillip Cassey The University of Adelaide
Professor Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem The University of Adelaide
Professor Timothy Fletcher The University of Melbourne
Professor Alexander Hamilton The University of New South Wales
Professor Shizhang Qiao The University of Adelaide
Professor Veena Sahajwalla The University of New South Wales
Professor Jennifer Smith-Merry The University of Sydney
Professor Gerhard Swiegers University of Wollongong

* Biographies for the 8 Industry Laureate Fellows will be available on the ARC Website.

Table 2.   Application numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for approved Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 applications.

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 (%)
2023 116 8 6.9 $398,946,948 $27,709,549 $27,709,549 100

Table 3.  Indicative funds for approved Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 applications

Budget Item 2023–2024 2024–2025 2025–2026 2026-2027 2027-2028 TOTAL
Industry Laureate Salary including on-costs $1,390,064 $1,390,064 $1,390,064 $1,390,064 $1,216,306 $6,776,562
Industry Laureate Postdoctoral Research Associate $1,706,944 $1,706,944 $1,706,944 $1,706,944 $1,493,576 $8,321,352
Industry Laureate Postgraduate Researcher $375,310 $461,920 $461,920 $461,920 $86,610 $1,847,680
Project Funding $2,038,398 $2,414,563 $2,299,250 $2,296,833 $1,714,911 $10,763,955
TOTAL $5,510,716 $5,973,491 $5,858,178 $5,855,761 $4,511,403 $27,709,549

Outcomes by discipline

A summary of outcomes by discipline panel is shown in Table 4.

Table 4.   Application numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funds for approved Industry 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 30 1 3.3 $102,413,093 $3,763,434 $3,763,434 100.0
EIC 49 4 8.2 $168,718,800 $13,914,231 $13,914,231 100.0
HCA 6 0 0.0 $22,036,658 $0 $0 0.0
MPCE 12 2 16.7 $41,132,241 $7,449,465 $7,449,465 100.0
SBE 19 1 5.3 $64,646,156 $2,582,419 $2,582,419 100.0
Total 116 8 6.9 $398,946,948 $27,709,549 $27,709,549 100.0

*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  

Leverage of ARC Funding

In addition to the $27,709,549 of ARC indicative funding approved, the 8 projects will also receive cash and in-kind contributions from their administering organisations and their industry partners. These participating organisations will contribute a total of $36,152,501.

Outcomes by Administering Organisation

The Administering Organisations of the 8 applications approved for funding are:

  • The University of Adelaide (3)
  • The University of Melbourne (1)
  • The University of New South Wales (2)
  • The University of Sydney (1)
  • University of Wollongong (1)

Industry Partners

Australian companies and Australian federal and state government entities will participate in the approved projects as Key Industry and Other Industry Partners. International organisations will also contribute as Other Industry Partners.

In total, there are 18 unique Key Industry Partners or Other Industry Partners involved with the 8 projects approved for funding, giving an average of 2.25 Industry partners involved in each project. Together, they have pledged a total (cash and in-kind) of $18,747,220. This represents 68 cents from Industry Partners for every dollar funded by the ARC.

The Industry Partner contributions in these categories for Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 applications approved for funding are shown below in Table 5.

Table 5.     Partner Organisation contributions by sector for approved Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 applications

Type Cash In-Kind Total
  $ % $ % $ %
Australian Federal $101,045 1.2 $322,800 3.2 $423,845 2.3
Australian state, territory and local $3,666,476 43.1 $3,986,899 39 $7,653,375 40.8
Sub-total $3,767,521 44.3 $4,309,699 42.2 $8,077,220 43.1
Industry Body
Australian $4,350,000 51 $4,960,000 48.5 $9,310,000 49.6
International $400,000 4.7 $960,000 9.3 $1,360,000 7.3
Sub-total $4,750,000 55.7 $5,920,000 57.8 $10,670,000 56.9
Total $8,517,521 100 $10,229,699 100 $18,747,220 100

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

These partnerships form congruent and/or complementary linkages in Fields of Research (FoR). A summary of the FoR categories identified by applicants of approved applications and the total Industry Partners contributions are shown below in Table 6.

Table 6.    Application data by Field of Research category for Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023

Field of Research category Number of applications approved* Key and Other Industry Partner contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)
Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences 0 -
Biological Sciences 0 -
Biomedical and Clinical Sciences 0 -
Chemical Sciences 1 $2,311,274
Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services 0 -
Creative Arts and Writing 0 -
Earth Sciences 0 -
Economics 0 -
Education 0 -
Engineering 4 $21,646,951
Environmental Sciences 1 $6,128,887
Health Sciences 1 $3,433,829
History, Heritage and Archaeology 0 -
Human Society 0 -
Indigenous Studies 0 -
Information and Computing Sciences 0 -
Language, Communication and Culture 0 -
Law and Legal Studies 0 -
Mathematical Sciences 0 -
Philosophy and Religious Studies 0 -
Physical Sciences 1 $2,631,560
Psychology 0 -
TOTAL 8 $36,152,501

* Based on the primary FoR

Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC)

A summary of the ANZSIC categories that best represent the proposed research of the approved applications are shown below in Table 7.

Table 7. Application data by Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) category for Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023

ANZSIC category  Number of applications approved
181 – Basic Chemical Manufacturing 1
201 – Glass and Glass Product Manufacturing 1
229 – Other Fabricated Metal and Product Manufacturing 1
243- Electrical and Equipment Manufacturing 1
242- Computer and Electronic Equipment Manufacturing 1
281 - Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services 1
754 – Justice 1
879 – Other Social Assistance Services 1

Career age and gender

Of the 116 Industry Laureate Fellowship candidates in this round, 20 were female, 95 were male and 1 chose not to specify their gender. The success rate for female, male and unspecified candidates is 15%, 5.2% and 0% respectively.

Success rates of Industry Laureate Fellowship candidates by career age and gender in the current Industry Laureate Fellowship round are presented in Figure 1. Candidates who did not provide gender information (0.8%) and candidates who did not specify the date of completion of their PhD or who do not hold a PhD (0%) are not represented in the figure below.

Figure 1.         Participation and success rate of candidates in Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 by gender and career age*^

Bar and Line Graph

* Career age is calculated as years since PhD. The earliest PhD award date was used where there was more than 1 PhD.
^ Calculated career age does not take career interruptions into consideration. 

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 8).

Table 8. Citizenship/residency status of Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 candidates and approved Awardees

Citizenship/residency status Applications considered % Of Applications considered Applications approved Success rate (%)
Foreign Nationals 0 0 0 0
Resident Australians 113 97.4 8 7.1
Returning Australians 3 2.6 0 0
Total 116 100 8 6.9

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

Research Students

In the 8 applications approved for funding, a total of 70 research student places will be filled as a result of the funded projects, with a total of 39 PhD student places, 6 Masters student places and 25 Honours student places.

International collaboration

In the 116 applications considered; applicants foreshadowed 203 instances of collaboration with researchers in 41 overseas locations. Of the applications approved for funding, applicants foreshadowed 6 instances of collaboration with researchers in 5 overseas locations (Figure 2).

Figure 2.         International collaborations by location in approved Industry Laureate Fellowships 2023 applications

Pie chart
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