Overview

The Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme provides funding to Eligible Organisations to engage in cutting edge research on new technologies and economic, commercial and social transformation and support the development of research outcomes that benefit industry partners in the Industrial Transformation Priorities. Research Hubs engage Australia’s best researchers in issues facing the new industrial economies and training the future workforce. The scheme supports collaborative research activity between the Australian higher education sector and industry, designed to focus on strategic outcomes that are not independently realisable. 

The objectives of the Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme are to:

  • encourage collaborative R&D projects between universities and organisations outside the Australian higher education sector that will engage in cutting-edge research on new technologies to create economic, commercial and social transformation
  • leverage national and international investment in targeted industry sectors, including from industry and other research end-users, and
  • drive growth, productivity and competitiveness within the Industrial Transformation Priorities.

Selection process

Applications for projects commencing in 2019 opened on 15 October 2018 and closed on 12 December 2018. Applications were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines recommendations from the selection process for that round.
These recommendations are based on advice from the Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) which: 

  • 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
  • recommended application feedback 

and on advice from the ARC Eligibility Committee which:

  • considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff, the SAC or independent assessors
  • made recommendations to the CEO in respect of ineligible applications

This report reflects the outcomes approved by the Minister.

Selection criteria

Selection criteria and corresponding weights for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs applications are:

  • Project Quality and Innovation (30%)
  • Feasibility and Commitment (20%)
  • Benefit (30%)
  • Investigator(s) (20%).

The ARC assessment and reporting process for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs 2019 used a panel of 12 SAC members and was managed in RMS. A total of 52 independent assessor reports were submitted to the ARC for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs 2019.

Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received 13 applications for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019. There were no withdrawn applications. Of all applications, 2 did not meet eligibility requirements. 

As shown in Table 1, the overall success rate was 30.8 per cent, lower than the success rate for the previous round of 44.4 per cent.

Table 1. Comparison of application numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for approved applications from Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2018 and 2019*

Funding year

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success rate (%)

Requested funds over project life (all applications)

Requested funds over project life (approved applications)

Funds allocated over project life

Allocation as a percentage of request (%)

2018

9

4

44.4

$37,115,656

$17,971,900

$17,971,900

100.0

2019

13

4

30.8

$58,728,902

$18,104,299

$18,104,299

100.0

*May include indicative funding amounts

Outcomes of Research Hubs approved

Table 2 Details of approved Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019

Research Hub Title

Administering Organisation

Hub Director

Approved funds over project life

ARC Research Hub for Microrecycling of battery and consumer wastes

The University of New South Wales

Prof Veena Sahajwalla

$3,317,500

ARC Research Hub for Sustainable Onshore Lobster Aquaculture

University of Tasmania

A/Prof Gregory Smith

$5,000,000

ARC Research Hub to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

The University of New South Wales

Prof Rebecca Guy

$4,999,540

ARC Research Hub for Sustainable Crop Protection

The University of Queensland

Prof Neena Mitter

$4,787,259

Outcomes by Administering Organisation  

Institutions in four Australian states submitted applications for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019. In addition to ARC funding, significant contributions are made by participating organisations. For all approved applications this contribution represents more than double the ARC funding as shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Numbers of applications, success rates and ARC approved funding for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019 

Administering Organisation

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success rate (%)

ARC approved funding over project life (approved applications)

Participating organisation*# contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)

New South Wales

8

2

25.0

$8,317,040

$26,596,588

Macquarie University

1

0

0.0

$0

$0

The University of New South Wales

3

2

66.7

$8,317,040

$26,596,588

The University of Newcastle

1

0

0.0

$0

$0

The University of Sydney

1

0

0.0

$0

$0

University of Wollongong

1

0

0.0

$0

$0

Western Sydney University

1

0

0.0

$0

$0

Queensland

3

1

33.3

$4,787,259

$12,875,354

The University of Queensland

3

1

33.3

$4,787,259

$12,875,354

Tasmania

1

1

100.0

$5,000,000

$21,112,162

University of Tasmania

1

1

100.0

$5,000,000

$21,112,162

Victoria

1

0

0.0

$0

$0

The University of Melbourne

1

0

0.0

$0

$0

Total

13

4

30.8

$18,104,299

$60,584,104

* Participating Organisations include the Administering Organisation, Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations and Other Organisations.
# Participating Organisation contributions are shown by organisation type in Table 4.

Participating Organisations

As shown in Table 4, contributions to Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019 from Partner Organisations total over $33 million. This is 55 per cent of the total organisation contributions to successful Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019.

Table 4. Participating organisation contributions by organisation type for approved Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019 applications

Organisation type

Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)

Administering Organisation

$17,382,809

Other Eligible Organisation

$7,664,989

Partner Organisation

$33,424,491

Other Organisation

$2,111,815

Total

$60,584,104

Partner Organisation contributions by sector 

Partner Organisations were identified as either Australian, international, government, non-profit, industry or overseas higher education organisations. The Partner Organisation contributions in these categories for applications approved for funding in 2019 are shown below in Table 5.

Table 5.    Partner Organisation contributions by sector for approved Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019 applications

Type

 

Cash

In-kind

Total

 

 

$

%

$

%

$

%

Industry Body

 

Australian

 

$7,812,000

49.13

$8,223,695

46.93

$16,035,695

47.98

International

 

$5,404,000

33.99

$6,708,221

38.28

$12,112,221

36.24

 

Sub-total

$13,216,000

83.12

14,931,916

85.21

$28,147,916

84.22

Non-Profit

 

Australian

 

$634,000

3.99

$441,313

2.52

$1,075,313

3.22

 

Sub-total

$634,000

3.99

$441,313

2.52

$1,075,313

3.22

Government

 

Australian state, territory and local government

 

$350,000

2.20

 

$675,354

3.85

$1,025,354

 

3.07

International

 

$0

0.00

$60,000

0.34

$60,000

0.18

Australian Federal Government

 

$1,700,000

10.69

$272,570

1.56

$1,972,570

 

5.90

 

Sub-total

$2,050,000

12.89

$1,007,924

5.75

$3,057,924

9.15

Other

 

Other

 

$0

0.00

$130,000

0.74

$130,000

0.39

 

Sub-total

$0

0.00

$130,000

0.74

$130,000

0.39

Education

 

International

 

$0

0.00

$1,013,338

5.78

$1,013,338

3.03

 

Sub-total

$0

0.00

$1,013,338

5.78

$1,013,338

3.03

 

Total

$15,900,000

100.00

$17,524,491

100.00

$33,424,491

100.00

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

Leverage of ARC funding

Of the 13 applications considered, four were approved with a total funding, over the life of these projects, of $18,104,299 million. There are 36 Partner Organisations involved, committing a total of $33,424,491 million in cash and in-kind funding. This represents $1.85 from Partner Organisations for every dollar of funding from the ARC.

Outcomes by Industrial Transformation Priorities

As shown in Table 6, applications for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019 were submitted in all Industrial Transformation Priorities.

Table 6.   Instances of identified Industrial Transformation Priorities in Industrial Transformation Research Hubs applications approved for funding commencing in 2019

Industrial Transformation Priorities

Instances in applications considered*

Instances in applications approved*

Advanced Manufacturing

4

1

Cyber Security

2

0

Food and Agribusiness

5

2

Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals

2

1

Mining Equipment, Technology and Services

1

0

Oil, Gas and Energy Resources

2

0

Total

16

4

* A single application may select multiple Industrial Transformation Priorities

Outcomes by Science and Research Priorities 

As shown in Table 7, all applications for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019 selected a Science and Research Priority. 

Table 7.    Approved funding for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019 by Science and Research Priority

Priority area

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success rate (%)

Approved funds (over project life)

Advanced manufacturing

5

2

40.0

$8,317,040

Cybersecurity

1

0

0

$0

Environmental change

1

0

0

$0

Food

5

2

40.0

$9,787,259

Resources

1

0

0

$0

Total

13

4

30.8

$18,104,299

Total within Science and Research Priorities

13

4

30.8

$18,104,299

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

100%

100%

 

100%

Outcomes by Field of Research Categories

Table 8.    Application data by Field of Research category for Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019

Field of Research category

Applications considered

Applications approved

ARC approved funding over project life (approved applications)

Participating Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved applications)

Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences

4

2

            $9,787,259

$33,987,516

Information and Computing Sciences

2

0

$0

$0

Engineering

5

1

$3,317,500

$12,945,595

Technology

2

1

            $4,999,540

$13,650,993

Total

13

4

$18,104,299

$60,584,104

Gender

A total of 353 participants were named as a Hub Director, Chief Investigator or Partner Investigator on applications considered in this round. Of these, 274 were male and 79 were female. The success rates for male and female participants in this round are 24.1 per cent and 54.4 per cent respectively. While the total number of female participants is significantly lower than the total number of male participants, the success rate for female participants on approved applications is higher.

International collaboration

As shown in Figure 1, eight countries are participating in the successful Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019, compared with 13 for the previous selection round.

Figure 1.  Instances of International Collaboration on approved Industrial Transformation Research Hubs for funding in 2019 applications