Selection Report: Linkage Projects 2022 Round 2
The Linkage Projects scheme supports projects which initiate or develop long term strategic research alliances to apply advanced knowledge to problems, acquire new knowledge and as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.
The objectives of the Linkage Projects scheme are to:
- support the development of long-term strategic research alliances between higher education organisations and industry and other research end-users, in order to apply advanced knowledge to problems;
- provide opportunities for internationally competitive research projects to be conducted in collaboration with organisations outside the higher education sector; and
- enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas, particularly the National Manufacturing Priorities.
Applications for Linkage Projects 2022 Assessment Round 2 opened on 2 August 2022 and closed on 13 December 2022. Applications were submitted using a continuous application process; this is the second of the two assessment rounds for this scheme. 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:
- assigned independent assessors to review the applications
- 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, 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 College of Experts or independent assessors
- where required, sought advice from the ARC’s Medical Research Advisory Group
- made recommendations to the Acting CEO in respect of ineligible applications.
This report reflects the outcomes approved by the Minister. Unless otherwise specified, data presented in this report exclude withdrawn applications.
All applications that meet the eligibility criteria for Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) were assessed and merit ranked using the following assessment criteria:
- Investigator(s)/Capability (20%)
Describe the quality of the named participants’ Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence (ROPE) including evidence of:
- potential to engage in collaborative research with end-users;
- experience in research training, mentoring and supervision; and
- time and capacity to undertake and manage the proposed research in collaboration with the Partner Organisation(s).
- Project quality and innovation (25%)
Describe the extent to which the project is significant and innovative including:
- any new methods or technologies to be developed that address a specific market opportunity;
- how the anticipated outcomes will advance the knowledge base to address an important problem and/or provide an end-user and/or industry advantage;
- how the project’s aims and concepts are novel and innovative; and
- how the project will significantly enhance links with industry and/or other organisations outside the Australian publicly-funded research and higher education sectors.
Describe the research approach and training including:
- the conceptual framework, design, methods and analyses, demonstrating these are adequately developed, well integrated and appropriate to the aims of the project; and
- the intellectual content and scale of the work proposed is appropriate to a higher degree by research student where relevant.
- Feasibility and commitment (20%)
- the extent to which the project represents value for money;
- the supportive and high-quality environment for this research in the Administering Organisation and the Partner Organisation(s);
- the availability of the necessary facilities to conduct the research;
- the commitment of each Partner Organisation to collaboration in the research project and capacity to implement the outcomes of the research; and
- the adequacy of the budget, including cash and in-kind contributions pledged by the participating organisations.
If the project involves research pertaining to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander research communities describe:
- the strategies for enabling collaboration with Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities where appropriate (for example, dialogue/collaboration with an Indigenous cultural mentor); and
- any existing or developing, supportive and high quality research communities ; and
- any personal affiliations with local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities that can facilitate the proposed research.
- Benefit (35%)
- the new or advanced knowledge resulting from outcomes of the research;
- the economic, commercial, environmental, social and/or cultural benefits for relevant Australian research end-users (including relevant industry sectors);
- the potential contribution to Australian Government priority areas such as the National Manufacturing Priorities, the National Science and Research Priorities, the Low Emissions Technology Statement, the National Agricultural Innovation Priorities, and the Defence Science and Technology Strategy 2030;
- benefits of the research for Partner Organisation(s) and other relevant end-users;
- the contribution of the research to developing strategic research alliances between the higher education organisation(s) and industry and/or other organisation(s);
- strategies to encourage dissemination, commercialisation, and if appropriate, the promotion of research outcomes; 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 and/or end-users.
The ARC assessment process for Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) involved 16 SAC members as part of one multidisciplinary panel and was managed in RMS. A total of 683 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC.
Funding levels and duration
Funding of between $50,000 and $300,000 per annum for up to five years may be awarded for each Linkage Projects application.
Summary of outcomes
The ARC received a total of 209 applications for Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2), one of which was withdrawn.
The overall success rate for Linkage Projects for funding applied for in 2022 (Round 2) is 27.4 per cent.
Of the unsuccessful applications, 3 were found to not meet eligibility requirements.
A comparison of success rates and funding amounts is shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Comparison of application numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for approved Linkage Projects applications from 2021 (Rounds 1, 2 and 3) and 2022 (Rounds 1 and 2)
|Scheme Round||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)||Requested funds over project life for all applications considered ($)||Requested funds over project life for approved applications ($)||Funds allocated over project life for approved applications* ($)||Return rate for approved applications (%)|
|2021 (Round 1)||156||52||33.3||$79,107,431||$27,924,670||$24,453,512||87.6|
|2021 (Round 2)||206||68||33.0||$104,442,886||$36,666,155||$31,795,813||86.7|
|2021 (Round 3)||207||61||29.5||$114,276,759||$36,477,703||$29,657,243||81.3|
|2022 (Round 1)||193||81||42.0||$100,220,423||$43,807,006||$40,083,565||91.5|
|2022 (Round 2)||208||57||27.4||$109,986,809||$30,981,425||$28,045,518||90.5|
*May include indicative funds
Outcomes by discipline
A summary of outcome by discipline is shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Application numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funds for approved Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) applications by discipline
|Discipline*||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)||Requested funds over project life for all applications considered ($)||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, Information and Computing Sciences; HSE – Humanities and Creative Arts, Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences; MPCE – Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Outcomes by Science and Research Priorities
A summary of outcomes by Science and Research Priorities is shown in Table 3.
Table 3. Approved funding and success rate for Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) applications by Science and Research Priorities
|Science and Research Priorities||Applications considered||Applications approved||Success rate (%)||Approved funds over project life ($)|
|Soil and Water||7||3||42.9%||$1,226,384|
|Total Applications within Science and Research Priorities||172||51||29.7%||$26,518,388|
|Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)||82.7%||89.5%||94.6%|
Leverage of ARC Funding
Of the 208 applications considered, 57 were approved with a total approved funding of $28 million over the life of these projects. There are 125 unique Partner Organisations involved with these projects, and they have pledged a total (cash and in-kind) of $43.6 million. This represents $1.56 from Partner Organisations for every dollar funded by the ARC.
Outcomes by Administering Organisation
A summary of outcomes by Administering Organisation is shown in Table 4.
Table 4. Numbers of applications, success rates, ARC approved funding and Partner Organisation contributions for approved Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) applications by Administering Organisation
|Administering Organisation||Applications considered||
|Success rate (%)||ARC approved funding over project life (approved applications)||Partner Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)|
|Australian Capital Territory||4||0||0||-||-|
|The Australian National University||3||0||0||-||-|
|University of Canberra||1||0||0||-||-|
|New South Wales||70||27||38.6||$12,247,710||$17,376,486|
|Southern Cross University||1||1||100.0||$303,617||*|
|The University of New South Wales||20||9||45.0||$3,287,176||$5,781,232|
|The University of Newcastle||3||2||66.7||$656,005||$827,571|
|The University of Sydney||16||7||43.8||$3,921,313||$5,513,548|
|University of Technology Sydney||6||3||50.0||$1,269,864||$1,399,032|
|University of Wollongong||6||1||16.7||$502,439||*|
|Western Sydney University||9||1||11.1||$704,970||*|
|Charles Darwin University||2||1||50.0||$741,172||*|
|Queensland University of Technology||11||0||0||-||-|
|The University of Queensland||19||6||31.6||$2,626,452||$4,181,250|
|The University of Southern Queensland||3||0||0||-||-|
|University of the Sunshine Coast||2||0||0||-||-|
|The University of Adelaide||5||2||40.0||$1,048,257||$1,232,408|
|Torrens University Australia||2||0||0||-||-|
|University of South Australia||2||1||50.0||$380,833||*|
|University of Tasmania||4||0||0||-||-|
|La Trobe University||3||0||0||-||-|
|Swinburne University of Technology||5||1||20.0||$562,823||*|
|The University of Melbourne||18||5||27.8||$3,180,995||$6,044,711|
|Edith Cowan University||1||0||0||-||-|
|The University of Western Australia||10||2||20.0||$1,373,074||$2,089,651|
* For confidentiality reasons, total contributions by Partner Organisations are not shown in instances in which Administering Organisations are associated with one approved application 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 2022 (Round 2) applications approved for funding are shown below in Table 5.
Table 5. Partner Organisation contributions by sector for approved Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) applications
|Australian state, territory and local||$2,465,909||18.1||$6,338,394||21.2||$8,804,303||20.2|
Note: All percentages are shown using rounded figures, and as such may not sum to 100%.
Linkage Projects applications represent partnerships between researchers, higher education organisations and other organisations, as well as collaborations between Partner Organisations within projects. There are a total of 126 instances of collaboration with Partner Organisations (including multiple collaborations with a number of organisations) in Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) applications approved for funding, giving an average of 2.21 Partner Organisations involved in each application. 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 Partner Organisation contributions are shown below in Table 6.
Table 6. Application data by Field of Research category for Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2)
|Field of Research category||Number of applications approved#||Partner Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)|
|Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences||1||*|
|Biomedical and Clinical Sciences||2||$1,862,002|
|Built Environment and Design||2||$3,627,685|
|Creative Arts and Writing||1||*|
|History, Heritage and Archaeology||1||*|
|Information and Computing Sciences||6||$3,350,426|
|Language, Communication and Culture||3||$1,143,064|
|Law and Legal Studies||1||*|
# 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 application only. The Table 6 total does, however, include the total contributions by Partner Organisations on approved Projects associated with those FoR codes.
Career age and gender
Of the 786 Chief Investigators (CIs) in this round, 267 were female, 516 were male, one was indeterminate/intersex and 2 were unspecified. The success rate for female, male, indeterminate/intersex and unspecified CIs in Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) is 25.5%, 25.4%, 0% and 50.0% respectively.
Success rates of CIs by career age and gender in Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) are presented in Figure 1. CIs who selected indeterminate/intersex (0.1%) or did not provide gender information (0.3%) and CIs who did not specify the date of completion of their PhD or who do not hold a PhD (0.6%) are not represented in the figure below.
Figure 1. Participation and success rate of Chief Investigators (CIs) in Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) by gender and career age*
*Career age is calculated as years since PhD (or equivalent). The earliest PhD award date was used where there was more than one PhD.
In the 208 applications considered, applicants foreshadowed 138 instances of collaboration with researchers in 40 overseas locations. Of the applications approved for funding, 23 foreshadowed 36 instances of collaboration with researchers in 16 overseas locations (Figure 2).
Figure 2. International collaborations by location on approved Linkage Projects 2022 (Round 2) applications*
*The top 6 international collaboration locations are listed in Figure 2 and the remaining locations are grouped in the ‘Other’ category.