Overview

The Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme provides funding for research infrastructure, equipment and facilities to Eligible Organisations. It enables researchers to participate in cooperative initiatives so that expensive research infrastructure, equipment and facilities can be shared between higher education organisations and also with Industry. The scheme also fosters collaboration through its support of the cooperative use of international or national research facilities.

The objectives of the Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme are to:

  • encourage Eligible Organisations to develop collaborative arrangements with other Eligible Organisations and/or Partner Organisations to develop and support research infrastructure;
  • support large-scale national or international cooperative initiatives allowing expensive research infrastructure to be shared and/or accessed;
  • support areas of existing and/or emerging research strength; and
  • support and develop research infrastructure for the broader research community.

Selection Process

Applications for funding commencing in 2020 opened on 23 January 2019, and closed on 20 March 2019. Applications were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines the outcomes from the selection process for that round.

The ARC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) provided recommendations to the Minister based on advice from the ARC 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; 

and, advice from the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) Eligibility Committee which:

  • considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff, 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 applications.

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 Unless otherwise specified, data presented in this report exclude withdrawn applications.

Assessment Criteria

Assessment criteria and corresponding weightings for Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 applications are: 

Project Quality and Innovation

(25%)

Feasibility

(25%)

Investigator(s)

(20%)

Benefit

(30%)

The ARC assessment process for Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 used 16 SAC members and was managed in the RMS. A total of 524 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC.

Funding levels and duration

The minimum level of funding provided by the ARC under Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 is $150,000 per annum and the maximum level of funding cannot exceed 75 per cent of the total direct cost of the eligible budget item(s). Funding is provided for up to one year; or, up to five consecutive years for construction of research infrastructure, or subscription or coordinated access to international facilities and major national facilities.

Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received a total of 164 applications for Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities for funding commencing in 2020. This represents a 14 per cent increase from the 144 Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities applications received for funding commencing in 2019. Of the unsuccessful applications, three did not meet eligibility requirements. 

The overall success rate for Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities for funding commencing in 2020 is 28.7 per cent, with a similar percentage of allocation of requested funds compared to funding that commenced in 2019. 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 Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities applications from 2019 to 2020

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 (%)

2019

144

36

25.0

$111,480,217

$29,520,578

$27,421,223

92.9

2020

164

47

28.7

$116,305,596

$33,144,068

$30,672,752

92.5

*May include indicative funds

Outcomes by discipline 

A summary of outcomes by discipline panel is shown in Table 2.

Table 2.  Application numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funds for approved Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 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

31

8

25.8

$21,837,505

$6,798,747

$6,173,000

90.8

EIC

53

14

26.4

$36,217,638

$8,238,788

$7,723,750

93.7

HCA

8

1

12.5

$5,800,943

$1,228,182

$1,100,000

89.6

MPCE

67

23

34.3

$48,771,989

$16,258,934

$15,096,002

92.8

SBE

5

1

20.0

$3,677,521

$619,417

$580,000

93.6

Total

164

47

28.7

$116,305,596

$33,144,068

$30,672,752

92.5

 ​​

​​​*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 Economic 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 Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 applications by Science and Research Priorities

Science and Research Priorities

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success
rate (%)

Approved funds over project life ($)

Advanced manufacturing

63

21

33.3

$14,678,752

Cybersecurity

2

0

0

-

Energy

13

3

23.1

$1,743,000

Environmental change

18

4

22.2

$1,900,000

Food

5

3

60.0

$2,945,000

Health

9

3

33.3

$2,425,000

Resources

12

2

16.7

$1,310,000

Soil and water

7

2

28.6

$860,000

Transport

6

1

16.7

$475,000

Unspecified

29

8

27.6

$4,336,000

Total

164

47

28.7

$30,672,752

Total within Science and Research Priorities

135

39

28.9

$26,336,752

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

82.3

83.0

 

85.9

Outcomes by Administering Organisation

A summary of outcomes by Administering Organisation is shown in Table 4. 

Table 4. Number of applications and success rates for approved Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 applications by Administering Organisation

Administering  Organisation

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success rate (%)

Funds over project life for approved applications ($)

Australian Capital Territory

10

2

20.0

$1,232,000

The Australian National University

10

2

20.0

$1,232,000

New South Wales

55

17

30.9

$10,067,697

Macquarie University

5

0

0

-

Southern Cross University

5

3

60.0

$1,320,000

The University of New South Wales

17

6

35.3

$4,422,947

The University of Newcastle

5

2

40.0

$1,160,000

The University of Sydney

13

3

23.1

$1,989,000

University of Technology Sydney

3

1

33.3

$400,000

University of Wollongong

5

1

20.0

$245,750

Western Sydney University

2

1

50.0

$530,000

Queensland

16

3

18.8

$2,309,000

Griffith University

1

1

100

$744,000

Queensland University of Technology

5

0

0

-

The University of Queensland

9

2

22.2

$1,565,000

University of Southern Queensland

1

0

0

-

South Australia

8

1

12.5

$950,000

Flinders University

1

0

0

-

The University of Adelaide

4

0

0

-

University of South Australia

3

1

33.3

$950,000

Tasmania

6

1

16.7

$420,000

University of Tasmania

6

1

16.7

$420,000

Victoria

53

16

30.2

$10,820,055

Deakin University

1

1

100

$475,000

Federation University Australia

1

0

0

-

La Trobe University

2

2

100

$1,700,000

Monash University

22

6

27.3

$3,943,000

RMIT University

9

1

11.1

$535,000

Swinburne University of Technology

4

1

25.0

$580,000

The University of Melbourne

14

5

35.7

$3,587,055

Western Australia

16

7

43.8

$4,874,000

Curtin University

5

3

60.0

$1,480,000

The University of Western Australia

11

4

36.4

$3,394,000

Total

164

47

28.7

$30,672,752

Gender

Of the 1675 Chief Investigators (CIs) in this round, 357 were female CIs and 1318 were male CIs. The success rate for female and male CIs in this round of Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities is 30.5 per cent and 28.1 per cent respectively. 

Collaboration with Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations and Other Organisations 

Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities applications are expected to develop collaborative arrangements with Other Eligible Organisations and/or Partner Organisations and Other Organisations. 

The success rate for applications with one Eligible Organisation (the Administering Organisation) is 14.3 per cent. A summary of success rates by number of Eligible Organisations is shown in Table 5.

Table 5. Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 application success rates by number of Eligible Organisations

Number of Eligible Organisations

Number of applications considered

Number of applications approved

Success rate within band (%)

1*

7

1

14.3

2

19

8

42.1

3

39

9

23.1

4

31

10

32.3

5

33

11

33.3

6

18

2

11.1

7

3

1

33.3

8

8

2

25.0

9

2

2

100

10

3

1

33.3

11

1

0

0

Total

164

47

28.7

* An application with only one Eligible Organisation (the Administering Organisation) may or may not include Partner Organisations and/or Other Organisations.  

A summary of application success rates by number of collaborating organisations is shown in Table 6. Applications involving collaboration with five Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations and/or Other Organisations have the highest success rate - 54.8 per cent.

Table 6. Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 application success rates by number of collaborating organisations

Number of collaborating organisations*

Number of applications considered

Number of applications approved

Success rate within band (%)

1

3

0

0

2

13

4

30.8

3

25

5

20.0

4

26

6

23.1

5

31

17

54.8

6

25

4

16.0

7

12

6

50.0

8

11

0

0

9

6

2

33.3

10

4

1

25.0

11

5

1

20.0

12

2

1

50.0

14

1

0

0

Total

164

47

28.7

* Collaborating organisations include the Administering Organisation, Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations and Other Organisations. There were no applications with 13 collaborating organisations. 

International Collaboration

Among 164 of the applications considered, applicants foreshadowed 288 instances of collaboration with researchers in 42 overseas locations. Of the applications approved for funding, 25 foreshadowed 80 instances of collaboration with researchers in 21 overseas locations (Figure 1).

Figure 1. International collaborations by location in approved Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 applications*

*The top 13 international collaboration locations are listed in Figure 1 and the remaining locations are grouped in the ‘Other’ category.

Leverage of ARC funding

On Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2020 applications approved for funding, for every dollar funded by the ARC the proposed dollar contribution of the collaborating organisations listed on these applications is $1.46. The leverage of ARC funds for approved applications is shown in Table 7.

Table 7. Leverage of ARC funds for approved applications

Number of applications approved

Approved ARC funding

Number of unique collaborating organisations*

Incidence of involvement of collaborating organisations*

Collaborating organisation* Cash and In-kind contribution

Leverage (Collaborating organisation* contribution/ARC approved funding)

47

$30,672,752

61

249

$44,775,762

$1.46

 *Collaborating organisations include the Administering Organisation, Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations and Other Organisations.

Summary of Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities applications approved for funding

A summary of the Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities applications approved for funding commencing in 2020, by Administering Organisation is outlined in Table 8. The application titles indicate the variety of equipment, infrastructure and facilities supported in this scheme round.

Table 8.  Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities applications approved for funding commencing in 2020

Applications approved for funding

Administering Organisation

Lead CI

A particle detector array for the Murchison Widefield Array

Curtin University

Dr Clancy James

Returning WA Rapid Acquisition Fluorescent Microscopy to the cutting edge.

Prof John Mamo

WA CRC-MC-ICPMS for Earth, Planetary and Environmental science

Prof Noreen Evans

A high-payload, high-fidelity haptically-enabled motion simulation facility

Deakin University

Prof Saeid Nahavandi

Multi-kilohertz laser for attosecond and ultrafast science

Griffith University

A/Prof Igor Litvinyuk

A platform consortium for integrated 'systems-omics' research

La Trobe University

Prof Tony Bacic

X-Ray Nanolithography Facility: Towards the ultimate resolution

Dr Grant Van Riessen

A facility for quantification and isotopic analysis of trace gases

Monash University

Prof Perran Cook

A triple beam microscope: new frontiers in materials nanocharacterisation

Dr Amelia Liu

Fast Disk Storage to Enable Big Data Science in Weather, Oceans and Climate

Prof Michael Reeder

Integrated Functional Printing Facility for Advanced Material Technologies

Prof Mainak Majumder

New generation direct electron detector for cryo-electron microscopy

Dr Georg Ramm

The 3D Nanofabrication Facility

Prof Nicolas Voelcker

Photonic Chip Integration Facility

RMIT University

Prof Arnan Mitchell

A 4D habitat-modelling facility to support marine ecological research

Southern Cross University

Prof Brendan Kelaher

An Equilibrium Inlet-Proton Transfer Reaction-Mass Spectrometer

Prof Bradley Eyre

New frontier in Geoscience: A tandem trace element and isotopes facility

Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau

Data Co-operative Platform for Social Impact and Wellbeing

Swinburne University of Technology

Prof Jane Farmer

Advanced Multifunctional Electro-Opto-Magneto-Mechanical Analysis Platform

The Australian National University

A/Prof Yuerui Lu

Exploring the Dynamic Universe with DREAMS

Prof Anna Moore

Crossing the biology meso-nanoscale divide by scanning electron microscopy

The University of Melbourne

Prof Geoffrey McFadden

Live Cell Super Resolution Imaging Facility

Prof Frank Caruso

National Facility for Quantum Diamond

Dr David Simpson

Single Particle Elemental Analysis – Imaging Mass Cytometer Facility

Prof Amanda Ellis

Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Facility

A/Prof Trevor Smith

A 4-D X-Ray Microscopy Laboratory

The University of New South Wales

Prof Klaus Regenauer-Lieb

Australian Rheo-Scattering Facilities

A/Prof Patrick Spicer

Cryogenic Scanning Microwave Measurement Facility for Quantum Materials

Prof Alexander Hamilton

High Performance Solid State NMR Spectroscopy for Materials Research

Prof Martina Stenzel

In situ Environmental Electron Microscope Facility

Prof Richard Tilley

Next generation facility to measure microfluidic flows

Dr Charitha de Silva

Adaptive Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography for Multiphase Flows

The University of Newcastle

Prof Behdad Moghtaderi

Synthetic Biology: from Genomics to Valuable Bioproducts

Prof Brett Neilan

Electrophysiology Platform for Ion-channel Characterisation

The University of Queensland

Prof Glenn King

An integrated, multi-nodal bio-layer interferometry facility

A/Prof Bryan Fry

High Resolution PET-CT for Small Animal Molecular and Anatomical Imaging

The University of Sydney

Prof Steven Meikle

Rapid Molecular (Bio)material Imaging by Infrared and Raman Microscopies

Prof Peter Lay

Whopping Volta GPU Cluster – Transforming Artificial Intelligence Research

Prof Dacheng Tao

A next-generation receiver for Radio Astronomy

The University of Western Australia

Prof Lister Staveley-Smith

Australian Seismic Imaging Array

Prof Li Ju

Quantitative Movies of Nanoscale Dynamics by Video Atomic Force Microscopy

Prof Rob Atkin

The Digitisation Centre of Western Australia (Phase 1)

Prof Benjamin Smith

Protein Quantitation Centre of South Australia renewal for Systems Biology

University of South Australia

Prof Peter Hoffmann

Rapid Deployment Seismic Recorders for Interdisciplinary Antarctic Research

University of Tasmania

Prof Anya Reading

3D Nanofabrication and Nanocharacterisation facility

University of Technology Sydney

Prof Igor Aharonovich

An upgraded nanoindenter facility with in-situ Raman at high temperature

University of Wollongong

Prof Kiet Tieu

A major upgrade to the Australia Telescope Compact Array

Western Sydney University

Prof Raymond Norris