Overview

The Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme provides funding for research infrastructure, equipment and facilities to eligible organisations to support research. The scheme enables higher education researchers to participate in cooperative initiatives so that expensive infrastructure, equipment and facilities can be shared between higher education organisations and also with industry.

The objectives of the LIEF 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

Proposals for funding commencing in 2019 opened on 22 January 2018, and closed on 28 March 2018. 145 Proposals were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines recommendations from the ARC Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The ARC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) provided recommendations to the Minister based on advice from the ARC College of Experts which:

  • assigned independent assessors to review the proposals
  • 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 approved budgets

and advice from the ARC NCGP Eligibility Committee which:

  • considered eligibility issues identified by ARC staff, the ARC College of Experts 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 Unless otherwise specified, figures presented in this report exclude withdrawn proposals.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 LIEF 2019 proposals are:

Project Quality and Innovation (includes relevance of research to be supported with the proposed research infrastructure)  25%
Feasibility (includes nature of the alliance and commitment between the organisations named on the Proposal)  25%
Investigator(s)  20%
Benefit (includes need and use; demonstrated need for the features specific to the requested research infrastructure/equipment/facilities)  30%

The ARC assessment process for 2019 used a Selection Advisory Committee consisting of 16 ARC College of Experts members and was managed in the Research Management System (RMS). A total of 513 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC.

Funding levels and duration

The minimum level of funding provided by the ARC under LIEF is $150,000 per annum and the maximum level of funding cannot exceed 75.0 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 coordinated access to major national and/or international research facilities.

Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received 145 proposals for LIEF for funding commencing in 2019, of which one proposal was withdrawn. This is a decrease from the 171 proposals received for funding commencing in 2018. Of the unsuccessful proposals, 26 were found to not meet eligibility requirements.

The overall success rate for funding commencing in 2019 is 25.0 per cent, with a higher percentage of allocation of requested funds compared to funding commencing in 2018. A comparison of success rates and funding amounts is shown in Table 1.

Table 1.  Comparison of proposal numbers, success rates, requested and allocated funds for approved LIEF proposals from 2018 to 2019

Funding year

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate (%)

Requested funds over project life (all proposals)

Requested funds over project life (approved proposals)

Funds allocated over project life*

Allocation as a percentage of request (%)

2018

171

50

29.2

$122,412,370

$33,697,811

$28,576,391

84.8

2019

144

36

25.0

$111,480,217

$29,520,578

$27,421,223

92.9

*May include indicative funds

Outcomes by Science and Research Priorities

A summary of outcomes by Science and Research Priorities is shown in Table 2.

Table 2.  Approved funding and success rate for LIEF 2019 proposals by Science and Research Priorities

Science and Research Priorities

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success
rate (%)

Approved funds (over project life)

Advanced manufacturing

59

16

27.1

$11,746,859

Cybersecurity

1

0

0

$0

Energy

10

1

10.0

$540,000

Environmental change

18

4

22.2

$6,605,648

Food

8

1

12.5

$489,045

Health

8

1

12.5

$372,210

Resources

7

3

42.9

$2,242,919

Soil and water

3

1

33.3

$740,948

Transport

4

0

0

$0

Unspecified

26

9

34.6

$4,683,594

Total

144

36

25.0

$27,421,223

Total within Science and Research Priorities

118

27

22.9

$22,737,629

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

81.9

75.0

N/A

82.9

Outcomes by Administering Organisation

A summary of outcomes by Administering Organisation is shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Numbers of proposals and success rates for approved LIEF 2019 proposals by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation

Proposals considered

Proposals approved

Success rate (%)

Approved funding over project life ($)

Australian Capital Territory

12

6

50.0

$7,824,950

The Australian National University

12

6

50.0

$7,824,950

New South Wales

41

10

24.4

$5,834,742

Macquarie University

6

1

16.7

$500,000

Southern Cross University

3

0

0

$0

The University of New England

1

0

0

$0

The University of New South Wales

12

3

25.0

$1,376,603

The University of Newcastle

6

1

16.7

$420,000

The University of Sydney

8

3

37.5

$1,543,139

University of Technology Sydney

3

2

66.7

$1,995,000

University of Wollongong

1

0

0

$0

Western Sydney University

1

0

0

$0

Queensland

14

5

35.7

$4,490,503

Griffith University

2

1

50.0

$438,783

Queensland University of Technology

3

1

33.3

$2,713,348

The University of Queensland

8

2

25.0

$1,179,372

University of Southern Queensland

1

1

100.0

$159,000

South Australia

13

5

38.5

$2,061,056

Flinders University

3

2

66.7

$700,625

The University of Adelaide

9

3

33.3

$1,360,431

University of South Australia

1

0

0

$0

Tasmania

2

0

0

$0

University of Tasmania

2

0

0

$0

Victoria

46

6

13.0

$4,552,053

Deakin University

1

0

0

$0

La Trobe University

1

0

0

$0

Monash University

19

3

15.8

$2,448,398

RMIT University

10

1

10.0

$514,250

Swinburne University of Technology

2

1

50.0

$725,405

The University of Melbourne

13

1

7.7

$864,000

Western Australia

16

4

25.0

$2,657,919

Curtin University

6

3

50.0

$2,242,919

The University of Western Australia

10

1

10.0

$415,000

Total

144

36

25.0

$27,421,223

Gender

A total of 1449 Chief Investigators (CIs) were named on all proposals considered in this round. Of these, 314 were female CIs and 1135 were male CIs. The success rate for female and male CIs in this round of LIEF is 27.1 per cent and 26.9 per cent respectively.

Collaboration with Other Eligible, Partner Organisations, Other Organisations and International Organisations

LIEF proposals are expected to develop collaborative arrangements with Other Eligible Organisations and/or Partner and Other Organisations. A proposal must involve two or more Eligible Organisations unless it is a Single Eligible Organisation proposal and can demonstrate that collaborative use of the proposed research infrastructure by another Eligible Organisation is not practicable.

The success rate for Single Eligible Organisation proposals is 20.0 per cent. A summary of success rates by number of Eligible Organisations is shown in Table 4.

Table 4. LIEF 2019 proposals summary of success rates by number of Eligible Organisations

Number of Eligible Organisations on the Proposal

Number of Proposals considered

Number of Proposals approved

Success rate within band (%)

  1

5

1

20.0

2

13

2

15.4

3

44

9

20.5

4

35

10

28.6

5

21

5

23.8

6

13

3

23.1

7

6

2

33.3

8

6

3

50.0

11

1

1

100.0

Total

144

36

25.0

† A Single Eligible Organisation Proposal means a proposal which includes only one Eligible Organisation (the Administering Organisation). A Single Eligible Organisation proposal may or may not include Partner Organisations and/or Other Organisations. There were no proposals with 9 or 10 Eligible Organisations.

A summary of proposals success rates by number of All Collaborating Organisations is shown in Table 5. The success rate for proposals which do not include collaboration/s with Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations or Other Organisations is 33.3 per cent. Proposals involving collaboration with six Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations or Other Organisations had the highest success rate - 41.2 per cent (Table 5).

Table 5. LIEF 2019 proposals success rates by number of All Collaborating Organisations

Number of Collaborating Organisations*

Number of Proposals considered

Number of Proposals approved

Success rate within band (%)

1

3

1

33.3

2

7

1

14.3

3

19

5

26.3

4

38

9

23.7

5

25

5

20.0

6

17

7

41.2

7

11

3

27.3

8

13

3

23.1

9

4

1

25.0

10

1

0

0

11

3

1

33.3

12

2

0

0

14

1

0

0

Total

144

36

25.0

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

Applicants foreshadowed 307 instances of collaboration with researchers in 47 overseas locations on 79 proposals. Of the proposals approved for funding, 22 foreshadowed 108 instances of collaboration with researchers in 29 overseas locations (Figure 1).

Figure 1.  International collaborations by location in approved LIEF 2019 proposals*

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

  • United States of America, 19
  • England 12,
  • China (excludes SARs and Taiwan), 9
  • Germany, 9
  • Japan, 7
  • France, 6
  • Spain, 5
  • Canada, 4
  • Italy, 4
  • Switzerland, 4
  • Austria, 3
  • Netherlands, 3
  • Singapore, 3
  • Others, 21

Leverage of ARC funding

On the LIEF proposals approved for funding, for every dollar funded by the ARC the proposed dollar contribution of the Organisations listed on these proposals is $1.31 shown in Table 6.

Table 6. Leverage of ARC funds for approved proposals

Proposals approved

Approved ARC funding

Number of unique Collaborating Organisations*

Incidence of involvement of Collaborating Organisations*

Collaborating Organisations Cash and In-kind contribution ($ equivalent)

Leverage (Collaborating Contribution/
ARC Approved Funding)

36

$27,421,223

50

186

$35,878,230

$1.31

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

Summary of LIEF proposals approved for funding

A summary of the proposals approved for funding commencing in 2019, by Administering Organisation is outlined in Table 7. The proposal titles indicate the variety of equipment, infrastructure and facilities supported in this scheme round.

Table 7. LIEF proposals approved for funding commencing in 2019

Proposals approved for funding

Administering Organisation

Lead CI

A novel ToF-SIMS facility for organic and inorganic analyses in WA

Curtin University

 

Prof Kliti Grice

The Western Australia ThermoChronology Hub

Dr Martin Danisik

Cutting-edge electron backscatter diffraction for materials analysis

Prof Steven Reddy

Thin film microfluidic systems facility

Flinders University

Prof Colin Raston AO FAA

Chemical signature analysis of surfaces

Prof Gunther Andersson

A femtosecond laser micromachining facility for a wide range of materials

Griffith University

Prof Nam-Trung Nguyen

A robotic telescope leveraging global science from Veloce

Macquarie University

Dr Christian Schwab

Multi-functional 3D imaging system for micro and nanoscale devices

Monash University

A/Prof Qiaoliang Bao

A national Magnetic Particle Imaging Facility

Prof Gary Egan

High resolution airborne P-band radar for environmental research

Prof Jeffrey Walker

Development of a Universal Super Transmission Electron Microscope

Queensland University of Technology

Prof Dmitri Golberg

Manikin Flash Fire Evaluation System for material thermal protection

RMIT University

Prof Rajiv Padhye

iHUB: a smart urban research-synthesis-engagement platform for decision making

Swinburne University of Technology

Prof Dr Peter Newton

Construction of SABRE, Australia's first full-scale dark matter detector

The Australian National University

Dr Gregory Lane

Enhanced beam injection for Australia's Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility

Prof Andrew Stuchbery

Australian mountain environmental research infrastructure facility

Prof Adrienne Nicotra

High resolution gas chromatography mass spectrometry for metabolic research

Prof Rod Peakall

Sustaining and strengthening merit-based access to National Computational Infrastructure

Prof Sean CSmith

Multi-angle in-operando mapping of nanoscale electro/photo-redox reactions

Dr Zongyou Yin

An Australian rental housing conditions data infrastructure

The University of Adelaide

A/Prof Emma Baker

A world-class machine learning facility for Australia

Prof Anton Jvan den Hengel

3D glass printing: the next step in advanced manufacturing

Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem

Enabling the future of the Australian collider physics program

The University of Melbourne

Prof Geoffrey NTaylor

AusKidTalk: an Australian children's speech corpus

The University of New South Wales

Dr Beena Ahmed

Next generation facility for investigating thermodynamics and kinetics

Prof Pall Thordarson

X-ray facility for protein crystallography

Prof Paul MCurmi

Time-layered cultural map of Australia

The University of Newcastle

Prof Hugh Craig

A gas chromatography-high resolution accurate mass spectrometry facility

The University of Queensland

Prof Kevin Thomas

An integrated materials surface analytical facility

Prof Ian RGentle

Advanced mechanical property testing suite

The University of Sydney

Prof Xiaozhou Liao

A comprehensive correlative cryo microscopy laboratory

Prof Julie MCairney

Hector-1: completing the revolutionary multi integral field spectrograph

Prof Jonathan Bland-Hawthorn

High throughput Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility

The University of Western Australia

Prof George Koutsantonis

A dedicated telescope to study the interiors of stars from their oscillations

University of Southern Queensland

A/Prof Robert Wittenmyer

The Australian environmental and planning law library

University of Technology Sydney

Prof Andrew Mowbray

Volumetric imaging facility: observing the cell in its native environment

Prof Dayong Jin