Linkage Projects 2019 Selection Report 

For applications submitted 21 December 2018 to 19 December 2019 (as at 21 May 2020)

Overview

The Linkage Projects scheme supports projects which initiate or develop long term strategic research alliances to apply advanced knowledge to problems, acquire new knowledge and as a basis for securing commercial and other benefits of research.

The objectives of the Linkage Projects scheme are to:

  • support the development of long-term strategic research alliances between higher education organisations and industry and other research end-users, in order to apply advanced knowledge to problems;
  • provide opportunities for internationally competitive research projects to be conducted in collaboration with organisations outside the higher education sector; and
  • enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas.

Selection Process

This report outlines outcomes from the selection process for Linkage Projects 2019 applications, which used a continuous application process. Applications were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines 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 Committees (SAC) which: 

  • assigned independent assessors to review the applications
  • 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 Unless otherwise specified, data presented in this report exclude withdrawn applications.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 Projects 2019 applications are:

  • Investigator(s) (25%)
  • Project quality and innovation (25%)
  • Feasibility (20%)
  • Benefit (30%)

The ARC assessment process for Linkage Projects 2019 used a total of 79 SAC members across four discipline panels and was managed in the RMS. A total of 1643 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC.

Funding levels and duration 

Funding of between $50,000 and $300,000 per annum for up to five years may be awarded for each Linkage Projects application.

Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received a total of 435 applications for Linkage Projects 2019, three of which were withdrawn. 

The overall success rate for Linkage Projects for funding applied for in 2019 is 40.5 per cent. 

Of the unsuccessful applications, five were found to not meet eligibility requirements.

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 Projects applications from 2018 and 2019

Scheme Round

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 (%)

2018

448

140

31.3

$218,670,119

$72,558,642

$60,550,623

83.5

2019

432

175

40.5

$217,620,359

$92,200,635

$78,187,269

84.8

Outcomes by discipline

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

Table 2.  Application numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funds for approved Linkage Projects 2019 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 (%)

BEM

78

30

38.5

$47,679,263

$17,893,301

$15,071,905

84.2

ET

116

49

42.2

$57,626,964

$27,822,926

$24,186,224

86.9

HSE

151

68

45.0

$68,691,724

$32,071,621

$26,831,855

83.7

PMI

87

28

32.2

$43,622,408

$14,412,787

$12,097,285

83.9

Total

432

175

40.5

$217,620,359

$92,200,635

$78,187,269

84.8

*BEM = Biological Sciences, Biotechnology, Environmental, Medical and Health Sciences; ET = Engineering and Technology; HSE = Humanities and Creative Arts, Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences; PMI = Physical, Mathematical and Information 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 Projects 2019 applications by Science and Research Priority

Science and Research Priorities

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success rate (%)

Approved funds over project life

Advanced Manufacturing

63

27

42.9

$11,590,014

Cybersecurity

18

7

38.9

$3,001,163

Energy

23

6

26.1

$2,574,211

Environmental Change

61

18

29.5

$7,953,727

Food

33

14

42.4

$8,470,334

Health

69

29

42.0

$13,047,893

Resources

26

17

65.4

$9,177,426

Soil and Water

28

13

46.4

$6,333,915

Transport

16

7

43.8

$2,443,855

None selected

95

37

38.9

$13,594,731

Total Applications

432

175

40.5

$78,187,269

Total Applications within Science and Research Priorities

337

138

40.9

$64,592,538

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

78.0

78.9

 

82.6

Leverage of ARC Funding

Of the 432 applications considered, 175 were approved with a total approved funding, of $78.2 million over the life of these projects. There are 426 unique Partner Organisations involved with these projects and they have pledged a total (cash and in-kind) of $126.6 million. This represents $1.62 from Partner Organisations for every dollar funded by the ARC.

Outcomes by Administering Organisation

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

Table 4. Numbers of applications, success rates, ARC approved funding and Partner Organisation contributions for approved Linkage Projects 2019 applications by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success rate (%)

ARC approved funding over project life (approved applications)

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

Australian Capital Territory

18

5

27.8

$1,977,531

$4,435,619

The Australian National University

15

4

26.7

$1,538,531

$2,434,569

University of Canberra

3

1

33.3

$439,000

*

New South Wales

128

53

41.4

$22,139,482

$35,712,198

Australian Catholic University

2

1

50.0

$556,000

*

Charles Sturt University

1

0

0

-

-

Macquarie University

13

8

61.5

$3,135,293

$4,735,152

Southern Cross University

4

2

50.0

$959,776

$1,917,500

The University of New England

1

0

0

-

-

The University of New South Wales

54

21

38.9

$9,382,284

$16,262,331

The University of Newcastle

5

3

60.0

$1,367,447

$2,238,716

The University of Sydney

24

10

41.7

$3,986,868

$5,326,858

University of Technology Sydney

5

1

20.0

$277,600

*

University of Wollongong

11

4

36.4

$1,549,799

$2,836,641

Western Sydney University

8

3

37.5

$924,415

$1,103,430

Northern Territory

3

1

33.3

$699,161

*

Charles Darwin University

3

1

33.3

$699,161

*

Queensland

87

39

44.8

$18,071,687

$31,721,606

Griffith University

17

6

35.3

$2,410,727

$3,672,659

James Cook University

4

3

75.0

$1,477,285

$2,033,596

Queensland University of Technology

10

4

40.0

$1,348,935

$1,899,661

The University of Queensland

50

26

52.0

$12,834,740

$24,115,690

The University of Southern Queensland

5

0

0

-

-

University of the Sunshine Coast

1

0

0

-

-

South Australia

32

13

40.6

$4,480,776

$7,749,097

Flinders University

10

4

40.0

$1,235,387

$2,407,840

The University of Adelaide

16

5

31.3

$1,787,028

$3,241,662

University of South Australia

6

4

66.7

$1,458,361

$2,099,595

Tasmania

7

2

28.6

$599,824

$756,066

University of Tasmania

7

2

28.6

$599,824

$756,066

Victoria

129

52

40.3

$22,365,098

$32,546,458

Deakin University

11

3

27.3

$1,109,557

$1,366,204

La Trobe University

10

3

30.0

$1,138,337

$1,240,149

Monash University

30

17

56.7

$7,602,125

$10,697,323

RMIT University

18

9

50.0

$4,088,267

$6,446,853

Swinburne University of Technology

13

3

23.1

$1,434,077

$2,155,567

The University of Melbourne

47

17

36.2

$6,992,735

$10,640,362

Western Australia

28

10

35.7

$7,853,710

$12,784,856

Curtin University

9

2

22.2

$898,035

$1,071,000

Murdoch University

3

0

0

-

-

The University of Notre Dame Australia

1

1

100

$1,342,000

*

The University of Western Australia

15

7

46.7

$5,613,675

$10,339,094

Total

432

175

40.5

$78,187,269

$126,646,998

*For confidentiality reasons, total contributions by Partner Organisations are not shown in instances in which Administering Organisations are associated with one approved application only. Table 4 total does, however, include the total contributions by Partner Organisations on approved Projects associated with those Administering Organisations.

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

Table 5. Partner Organisation contributions by sector for approved Linkage Projects 2019 applications 

Type

 

Cash

In-Kind

Total

   

$

%

$

%

$

%

Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Federal

 

$750,948

1.7

$2,394,130

2.9

$3,145,078

2.5

Australian state, territory and local

 

$8,068,250

18.7

$11,252,306

13.5

$19,320,556

15.3

International

 

$224,999

0.5

$616,984

0.7

$841,983

0.7

 

Sub-total

$9,044,197

21.0

$14,263,420

17.1

$23,307,617

18.4

Industry Body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian

 

$19,104,602

44.3

$33,338,494

39.9

$52,443,096

41.4

International

 

$9,685,322

22.4

$9,765,534

11.7

$19,450,856

15.4

 

Sub-total

$28,789,924

66.7

$43,104,028

51.6

$71,893,952

56.8

Non-profit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian

 

$2,667,538

6.2

$17,723,833

21.2

$20,391,371

16.1

International

 

$82,000

0.2

$1,037,099

1.2

$1,119,099

0.9

 

Sub-total

$2,749,538

6.4

$18,760,932

22.5

$21,510,470

17.0

Higher Education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International

 

$360,000

0.8

$1,201,285

1.4

$1,561,285

1.2

 

Sub-total

$360,000

0.8

$1,201,285

1.4

$1,561,285

1.2

Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

 

$2,220,599

5.1

$6,153,075

7.4

$8,373,674

6.6

 

Sub-total

$2,220,599

5.1

$6,153,075

7.4

$8,373,674

6.6

 

Total

$43,164,258

100

$83,482,740

100

$126,646,998

100


Note: All percentages are shown using rounded figures, and as such may not sum to 100%.

Partnerships 

Linkage Projects applications represent partnerships between researchers, higher education organisations and other organisations, as well as collaborations between Partner Organisations within projects. There are a total of 462 instances of collaboration with Partner Organisations (including multiple collaborations with a number of organisations) in Linkage Projects 2019 giving an average of 2.64 Partner Organisations involved in each application. These partnerships form congruent and/or complementary linkages in Fields of Research (FoR). A summary of the FoR categories identified by applicants of approved applications and the total Partner Organisation contributions are shown below in Table 6.

Table 6. Application data by Field of Research category for Linkage Projects 2019

Field of Research category

Number of applications approved#

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

Physical Sciences

5

$2,525,122

Chemical Sciences

6

$3,818,089

Earth Sciences

9

$9,055,482

Environmental Sciences

13

$10,218,790

Biological Sciences

7

$5,664,610

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

9

$7,898,927

Information and Computing Sciences

8

$5,402,754

Engineering

41

$33,054,377

Technology

7

$5,228,455

Medical and Health Sciences

6

$5,369,038

Built Environment and Design

4

$3,048,570

Education

4

$2,101,393

Economics

6

$2,859,766

Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

6

$2,248,292

Studies in Human Society

20

$10,177,069

Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

5

$3,582,972

Law and Legal Studies

1

*

Studies in Creative Arts and Writing

5

$3,585,916

Language, Communication and Culture

5

$2,625,946

History and Archaeology

5

$6,470,706

Philosophy and Religious Studies

3

$1,610,724

Total

175

$126,646,998

# Based on the primary FoR

*For confidentiality reasons, total contributions by Partner Organisations are not shown in instances in which FoR codes are associated with one approved application only. The Table 6 total does, however, include the total contributions by Partner Organisations on approved Projects associated with those FoR codes.

Age and Gender

A total of 2,427 participants were named on all applications considered in this round. Of these, 813 were female, 1605 were male and nine have chosen to not specify their gender. Figure 1 shows the number and success rate of participants in the round by age and gender. The success rate for female and male participants in this round of Linkage Projects applications is 41.8 per cent and 39.3 per cent respectively. A total of 288 of the applications approved had a male lead CI, of which 117 were successful, representing a 40.6 per cent success rate. A total of 143 of the applications considered had a female lead CI, of which 57 were successful, representing a 39.9 per cent success rate.

Figure 1.    Participation and success rates by age and gender for Linkage Projects 2019

International Collaboration

Among 432 of the applications considered, applicants foreshadowed 419 instances of collaboration with researchers in 52 overseas locations. Of the applications approved for funding, 104 foreshadowed 182 instances of collaboration with researchers in 33 overseas locations (Figure 2).

Figure 2. International collaborations by location on approved Linkage Projects 2019 applications*

*The top 10 international collaboration locations are listed in Figure 1 and the remaining locations are grouped in the ‘Other’ category.