Overview

The Future Fellowships scheme reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to promoting research in areas of critical national importance by enabling outstanding Australian and international mid-career researchers to conduct their research in Australia.

The objectives of the Future Fellowships scheme are to:

  • attract and retain outstanding mid-career researchers
  • ensure that outstanding mid-career researchers are recruited and retained, by Administering Organisations in continuing academic positions
  • build collaboration across industry and/or research institutions and/or disciplines
  • support research in national priorities across all disciplines that will result in economic, environmental, social, health and/or cultural benefits for Australia
  • strengthen Australia’s research capacity by supporting innovative, internationally competitive research.

 

Selection Process

ARC Executive Directors, assisted by relevant ARC staff, prepared funding recommendations for submission to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The outcomes were based on advice from the ARC College of Experts which:

  • assessed proposals and reviewed assessments made by independent readers
  • reviewed applicants’ comments on assessors’ reports
  • ranked each proposal relative to the others in discipline groups on the basis of the proposal and the assessors’ reports and applicants’ responses to those assessments
  • assessed and recommended budgets

and, advice from the ARC Eligibility Committee which:

  • considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff, members of the ARC College of Experts and other assessors
  • sought advice from institutions with respect to issues raised
  • made recommendations to the CEO in respect of ineligible proposals.

This report reflects the recommendations of the ARC CEO to the Minister. Unless otherwise specified, figures presented in this report exclude withdrawn proposals.

 

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weightings for Future Fellowships proposals are:

  • Future Fellowship Candidate (40%)
  • Project Quality (35%)
  • Strategic Alignment (15%)
  • Collaboration / Outreach (10%).

The ARC assessment and subsequent reporting process for Future Fellowships 2015 was managed in the Research Management System (RMS), and used a total of 33 ARC College of Experts members on three discipline panels. A total of 924 independent assessor reports were submitted to the ARC for Future Fellowships 2015.

 

Summary of Outcomes

Future Fellowships commencing in 2015 will offer four-year fellowships ranging over three salary levels (of up to $206,888 a year) to 50 outstanding Australian and international researchers in the middle of their career.

In addition, each researcher’s Administering Organisation will receive up to $50,000 per year to support related infrastructure, equipment, travel and relocation costs.

The ARC received a total of 318 proposals for Future Fellowships for funding commencing in 2015, of which three proposals were withdrawn.

Table 1.    Future Fellowships proposals approved for funding commencing in 2015

Salary Level

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Total requested funds (over project life)

Requested funds (over project life) of approved proposals

Funds allocated (over project life)

Allocation as a percentage of request

Salary Level 1

110

22

20.00%

$82,902,980

$16,636,329

$14,934,091

89.77%

Salary Level 2

114

16

14.04%

$100,132,100

$14,232,393

$12,759,611

89.65%

Salary Level 3

91

12

13.19%

$90,359,353

$12,074,412

$10,954,298

90.72%

Total

315

50

15.87%

$273,394,433

$42,943,134

$38,648,000

90.00%

 

Table 2.    Indicative funds for Future Fellowships proposals approved for funding commencing in 2015

 

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Total

Indicative Funding

$9,662,000

$9,662,000

$9,662,000

$9,662,000

$38,648,000

 

ARC Discipline Groups

Table 3.    Numbers and success rates for Future Fellowships proposals approved for funding commencing in 2015, by Discipline Group

ARC Discipline Group ^

Proposals considered

% of proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Allocated funds (over project life)

BEM

83

26.35%

14

16.87%

$10,592,904

HSE

93

29.52%

14

15.05%

$11,225,428

PME

139

44.13%

22

15.83%

$16,829,668

Total

315

100.0%

50

15.87%

$38,648,000

^ BEM – Biological Sciences, Biotechnology, Environmental, Medical and Health Sciences; HSE – Humanities and Creative Arts, Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences; PME – Physical, Mathematical and Information Sciences and Engineering

 

Strategic Research Priorities*

Table 4.    Numbers and success rates for Future Fellowships proposals approved for funding commencing in 2015, by Strategic Research Priority

Strategic Research Priority

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Allocated funds (over project life)

Lifting productivity and economic growth

87

15

17.24%

$11,715,928

Living in a changing environment

60

8

13.33%

$5,915,304

Managing our food and water assets

10

2

20.00%

$1,608,104

Promoting population health and wellbeing

65

7

10.77%

$5,453,452

Securing Australia’s place in a changing world

38

6

15.79%

$4,992,394

None selected

55

12

21.81%

$8,962,818

Total proposals

315

50

15.87%

$38,648,000

Total priority proposals

260

38

14.62%

$29,685,182

% within priority area

82.54%

76.00%

 

76.81%

* The Future Fellowships Funding Rules were aligned with the Funding Rules for schemes under the Discovery Program for the years 2015 and 2016—Australian Laureate Fellowships, Discovery Projects, Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and Discovery Indigenous which were finalised prior to the implementation of the new Science and Research Priorities. Please note that Strategic Research Priorities have now been replaced by the Science and Research Priorities.

 

Attracting and retaining outstanding researchers

Proposals were open to Eligible Organisations to nominate candidates who are outstanding researchers of international repute, resident either within Australia or overseas, with preference given to Australian Researchers.

Table 5.    Citizenship/residency status of Future Fellowships candidates and approved Fellows for funding commencing in 2015

Citizenship/residency status

Proposals considered

% of proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate

Returning Australians

16

5.08%

5

31.25%

Resident Australians

241

76.51%

36

14.94%

Foreign Nationals

58

18.41%

9

15.52%

Total

315

100.00%

50

15.87%

 

Gender

The success rates for female and male Future Fellowship Candidates in this round of Future Fellowships is 19.09 per cent and 14.15 per cent respectively. The success rates for the Future Fellowships round for 2014 were 19.08 per cent for female candidates and 17.58 per cent for male candidates.

Table 6.     Comparison of Future Fellowships success rates between male and female candidates from 2014 to 2015

Fellowship Type

Gender

Commencing in 2014

Commencing in 2015

Number of proposals

Number of approved fellows

Success rate

Number of proposals

Number of approved fellows

Success rate

Salary Level 1

male

378

65

17.20%

75

13

17.33%

female

155

30

19.35%

35

9

25.71%

Salary Level 2

male

142

27

19.01%

80

9

11.25%

female

85

15

17.65%

34

7

20.59%

Salary Level 3

male

43

7

16.28%

50

7

14.00%

female

22

5

22.73%

41

5

12.20%

All levels #

male

563

99

17.58%

205

29

14.15%

female

262

50

19.08%

110

21

19.09%

Five proposals did not specify gender in 2014.

Figure 1.   Success rate by age and gender for Future Fellowships proposals approved for funding commencing 2015

Six proposals did not specify age.

 

Time since PhD

At the closing time of submission of proposals, 289 of all Future Fellowship Candidates were between 5 and 15 years of the award of their PhD and 26 were more than 15 years of the award of their PhD. Of the approved Future Fellowship Candidates, 48 are between 5 and 15 years of the award of their PhD and 2 are more than 15 years of the award of their PhD.

Table 7.     Years since the award of PhD (at time of submission) for Future Fellowships for funding commencing in 2015

Years since award of PhD

No. of considered proposals

% of considered proposals

No. of approved proposals

% of approved proposals

0–5

1

0.32

0

0.00

5–10

165

52.38

26

52.00

10–15

123

39.05

22

44.00

15–20

25

7.94

2

4.00

20–25

1

0.32

0

0.00

Total

315

 

50

 

 

International Collaboration

Applicants foreshadowed 747 instances of collaboration with researchers in 66 overseas locations on 289 proposals. Of the proposals approved for funding, 47 proposals foreshadowed 131 instances of collaboration with researchers in 33 overseas locations.

Figure 2.   Instances of international collaboration on approved Future Fellowships proposals for funding commencing in 2015