Overview

The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to support excellence in research by attracting world-class researchers and research leaders to key positions in Australia.

The objectives of the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme are to:

  • attract and retain outstanding researchers and research leaders of international reputationsupport ground-breaking, internationally competitive research
  • provide an excellent research training environment and exemplary mentorship to nurture early-career researchers
  • forge strong links among researchers, the international research community and/or industry
  • expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability
  • enhance the scale and focus of research in the Science and Research Priorities.

Selection Process

Proposals for funding commencing in 2018 opened on 28 September 2017 and closed on 9 November 2017. Proposals were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines the outcomes from the selection process for that round.

Funding recommendations have been prepared for submission to ARC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The outcomes are based on advice from the ARC Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) which:

  • assessed proposals and reviewed assessments made by independent assessors
  • reviewed candidates’ comments on assessors’ reports
  • ranked each proposal relative to the others on the basis of the proposal, the assessors’ reports and candidates’ responses to those assessments
  • assessed and recommended budgets:

and advice from the ARC 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 proposals.

This report reflects the outcomes approved by the Minister. Unless otherwise specified, figures presented in this report exclude withdrawn proposals.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weightings for Australian Laureate Fellowships proposals are:

  • Investigator (40%)                                                                                                                 
  • Program of Research Activity (30%)                                                                                    
  • Mentoring/Capacity Building (30%)                                                                                     

The ARC assessment process for 2018 was managed in RMS using 17 SAC members on one multi-discipline panel. A total of 582 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC for Australian Laureate Fellowships 2018.

Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received a total of 134 proposals for Australian Laureate Fellowships for funding commencing in 2018, of which none were withdrawn. This represents an increase from the 112 proposals received in 2017. Of the unsuccessful proposals in 2018, three were found not to meet eligibility requirements.

Sixteen Australian Laureate Fellows were approved for funding commencing in 2018 (Table 1), which represents a success rate of 11.9%. The total indicative funding approved is $46.4 million over five financial years (Table 2).

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.

In addition to the Australian Laureate Fellowship salary supplement and salary-related (on-cost) support, the ARC may provide Australian Laureate Fellows with:

  1. additional funding for up to two postdoctoral research associates for five years each and up to two postgraduate researchers for four years each; and
  2. project funding of up to $300,000 per annum (for up to five years).

Of the 16 approved Australian Laureate Fellows, the average amount of approved funding is $2,900,882 in total over five years. In addition to the total Australian Laureate Fellowship salary support of $12,853,120, a total of $19,199,872 is approved for postdoctoral research associates and postgraduate researchers and a further $14,361,115 for general project funding.

While funding is awarded for Australian Laureate Fellowships proposals for five years, the ARC Act applies limits in relation to the amount and years for which the Minister may approve funding. At the time of award, funding is approved only up to and including the 2019-2020 financial year. Subsequent years and associated funding limits are added by amendment to the Act, following which funding for the additional years may be made available. Accordingly, the term "indicative funding" is used throughout this report to denote the total level of funding which is proposed to be made available, once all years to which the funding proposals relate have been legislated.

It is a requirement of the Funding Rules for schemes under the Discovery Program (2017 edition) for the Administering Organisation to provide a salary of Level E professorial appointment (or equivalent) to the successful candidate, with the ARC providing the salary supplement of $160,664 (2017$) per annum including 30 per cent on-costs.

Table 1: Australian Laureate Fellows approved for funding commencing in 2018

Fellowship candidate

Administering Organisation

Prof Jonathon Barnett

The University of Melbourne

Prof Christine Beveridge

The University of Queensland

Prof Tamara Davis

The University of Queensland

Prof Marilyn Fleer

Monash University

Prof Stephen Foley

Macquarie University

Prof Julian Gale

Curtin University

Prof Karl Glazebrook

Swinburne University of Technology

Prof Hong Hao

Curtin University

Prof Jolanda Jetten

The University of Queensland

Prof Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh

RMIT University

Prof Bostjan Kobe

The University of Queensland

Prof Dan Li

The University of Melbourne

Prof Hanns-Christoph Naegerl

The University of Queensland

Prof Madeleine van Oppen

The University of Melbourne

Prof Peter Visscher

The University of Queensland

Prof James Whisstock

Monash University

* Biographies for the 16 Australian Laureate Fellows will be available on the ARC Website

Table 2. Indicative funds for approved Australian Laureate Fellowships proposals for funding commencing in 2018

Budget item

2018-2019

2019-2020

2020-2021

2021-2022

2022-2023

TOTAL

Laureate Salary support including on-costs

$2,570,624

$2,570,624

$2,570,624

$2,570,624

$2,570,624

$12,853,120

ARC Postdoctoral Researchers

$3,156,608

$3,156,608

$3,156,608

$3,156,608

$3,156,608

$15,783,040

ARC Postgraduate Researchers

$507,186

$854,208

$854,208

$854,208

$347,022

$3,416,832

Project Funding

$3,027,823

$2,868,378

$2,878,508

$2,905,094

$2,681,312

$14,361,115

TOTAL

$9,262,241

$9,449,818

$9,459,948

$9,486,534

$8,755,566

$46,414,107

Stage in Career and Gender

About two-thirds of Australian Laureate Fellowship Candidates in this round had more than 20 years since their PhD was awarded and 11 of the 16 successful candidates came from this cohort. Four of the 16 candidates had more than 15 and up to 20 years since their PhD was awarded and one successful candidate was within 15 years since the award of their PhD.

Table 3: Years since the award of PhD (at time of submission)

Years since award of PhD

No. of considered proposals

% of considered proposals

No. of approved
proposals

% of approved
proposals

0-15 years

12

9.0

1

6.3

More than 15 years and up to 20 years

30

22.4

4

25.0

More than 20 years

92

68.7

11

68.8

No PhD

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

134

100

16

100


Twenty-seven candidates of the Australian Laureate Fellowship Candidates in this round were female, representing 20% of all candidates. Of the successful Australian Laureate Fellows, five were female (31%).

Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship

Of the 27 female Australian Laureate Fellowship Candidates, 24 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 candidate from the Humanities, Arts and Social Science disciplines) and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship (awarded to candidates from the Science and Technology disciplines)are shown in Table 4. Recipients 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.

Table 4: Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship

Fellowship Type

Approved Candidate

Administering Organisation

Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship

Professor Marilyn Fleer

Monash University

Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship

Professor Christine Beveridge

The University of Queensland

Administering Organisation

The Administering Organisations of the 16 proposals approved for funding are:

Curtin University (2)

Macquarie University (1)

Monash University (2)

RMIT University (1)

Swinburne University of Technology (1)

The University of Melbourne (3)

The University of Queensland (6)

Science and Research Priorities

Of the 134 Australian Laureate Fellowship proposals submitted, at least 91 (68%) of the proposals fall within one of the Science and Research Priorities (Table 5). The proposals submitted in 2018 cover a broad suite of fields of research (Table 6).

Table 5: Numbers and success rates for Australian Laureate Fellowships proposals for funding commencing in 2018, by Science and Research Priorities

Science and Research Priorities

Proposals considered

Proposals funded

Success rate (%)

Approved funds (over project life)

Advanced Manufacturing

28

4

14.3

$11,361,851

Cybersecurity

6

0

0

$0

Energy

7

0

0

$0

Environmental Change

16

3

18.8

$8,473,502

Food

8

2

25.0

$5,735,794

Health

14

1

7.1

$2,749,550

Resources

7

2

28.6

$5,546,758

Soil and Water

4

0

0

$0

Transport

1

0

0

$0

None Selected

43

4

9.3

$12,546,652

Total

134

16

11.9

$46,414,107

ABS Fields of Research

Table 6: Field of Research division details of proposals for the Scheme Round

FoR Code

Classification Name

Submitted

Approved

Approved Funding

01

Mathematical Sciences

7

0

$0

02

Physical Sciences

17

3

$8,554,573

03

Chemical Sciences

8

1

$2,539,442

04

Earth Sciences

3

1

$3,007,316

05

Environmental Sciences

3

0

$0

06

Biological Sciences

17

4

$12,103,602

07

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

2

0

$0

08

Information and Computing Sciences

14

0

$0

09

Engineering

24

3

$7,960,312

10

Technology

3

1

$3,011,916

11

Medical and Health Sciences

3

0

$0

12

Built Environment and Design

2

0

$0

13

Education

1

1

$3,279,122

14

Economics

3

0

$0

15

Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

1

0

$0

16

Studies in Human Society

5

1

$3,208,274

17

Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

3

1

$2,749,550

18

Law and Legal Studies

4

0

$0

19

Studies in Creative Arts and Writing

2

0

$0

20

Language, Communication and Culture

4

0

$0

21

History and Archaeology

6

0

$0

22

Philosophy and Religious Studies

2

0

$0

Total

 

134

16

$46,414,107