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:

  • support excellent basic and applied research and research training through the acquisition of research equipment and infrastructure and access to national and international research facilities; and
  • encourage Eligible Organisations to develop collaborative arrangements with other Eligible Organisations and/or Partner Organisations for the acquisition and use of research equipment and infrastructure or access to national and international facilities;

Selection process

Applications for funding commencing in 2022 opened on 27 January 2021, and closed on 31 March 2021. Applications were submitted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Management System (RMS). This report outlines outcomes from the selection process for that round.

These outcomes are 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 members of 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 applications.

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 Unless otherwise specified, data presented in this report exclude withdrawn applications.

Assessment Criteria 

All applications that meet the eligibility criteria for Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 were assessed and merit ranked using the following assessment criteria:

Investigator(s)/Capability (20%)

Describe the:

  • demonstrated record in these activities (for CIs and PIs who will manage the purchase, design, manufacture, installation, maintenance and coordination of access to the proposed research infrastructure); and
  • relevance of the research infrastructure to the research capacity and planned activities of each CI and PI on the application and, where relevant, to the research groups represented on the application.

Project quality and innovation (25%)

Describe the:

  • aims and significance of the research that will be supported by LIEF funding;
  • relevance of the proposed research infrastructure to the needs of ARC and other competitively funded research projects/programs;
  • importance of equipment for the training of research students;
  • enhancement of support for areas of existing and/or emerging research strength; and
  • demonstrated national or international focus for large scale cooperative initiatives.

Feasibility and strategic alignment (25%)

Describe the:

  • extent to which the project represents value for money;
  • feasibility of the plan to use the research infrastructure;
  • relevance of the research to the strategic priorities of the organisations;
  • evidence that each of the organisations is genuinely committed to, and prepared to collaborate in, the project;
  • existing or planned strategic research alliances between the higher education organisation(s) and other organisation(s); and
  • effectiveness of cooperative arrangements for the management and sharing of the proposed research infrastructure, including arrangements for ongoing operational expenditure where applicable.

Benefit (10%)

Describe the:

  • benefit of the proposed research infrastructure to the broader research community; and
  • where relevant, the extent to which the applicants have identified the freedom to operate in the Intellectual Property and patent landscape to enable future benefits to industry.

Suitability/Need (20%)

Describe the:

  • demonstrated needs from the researchers and/or research projects that they will utilise the proposed research infrastructure, including level of demand and likely measurable impact on the research program, including beyond the project activity period;
  • availability of and access to similar research infrastructure at organisational, regional, national and/or international level;
  • planned rate of use of the proposed research infrastructure, including proposed arrangements for broader access to individuals not named on the application;
  • alignment of the planned use with other similar existing infrastructure within Australia and/or internationally; and
  • special needs for regional or otherwise remote institutions.

Assessment process 

The ARC assessment process for Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 involved 16 SAC members as a part of one multidisciplinary panel and was managed in the RMS. A total of 454 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 2022 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 years for leasing infrastructure, equipment or facilities, the 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 139 applications for Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities for funding commencing in 2022, one of which was withdrawn.

The overall success rate for Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities for funding commencing in 2022 is 33.3 per cent.

Of the unsuccessful applications, three 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 Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities applications from 2021 and 2022.

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 (%)

2021

138

47

34.1

$112,226,899

$41,171,620

$38,827,812

94.3

2022

138

46

33.3

$127,970,814

$34,910,236

$32,611,772

93.4

*May include indicative funds

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 Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 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

20

5

25.0

$14,347,643

$2,775,950

$2,593,950

93.4

EIC

55

19

34.5

$49,495,707

$18,172,122

$16,588,944

91.3

HCA

7

2

28.6

$4,287,955

$1,389,515

$1,371,723

98.7

MPCE

51

18

35.3

$57,196,137

$11,678,815

$11,182,131

95.7

SBE

5

2

40.0

$2,643,372

$893,834

$875,024

97.9

Total

138

46

33.3

$127,970,814

$34,910,236

$32,611,772

93.4

* 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 2022 applications by Science and Research Priorities.

Science and Research Priorities

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success rate (%)

Approved funds over project life ($)

Advanced manufacturing

50

21

42.0

$14,697,394

Cybersecurity

6

0

0

-

Energy

13

2

15.4

$1,407,000

Environmental change

8

3

37.5

$2,126,791

Food

7

1

14.3

$675,000

Health

4

2

50.0

$875,024

Resources

10

4

40.0

$4,482,745

Soil and water

7

2

28.6

$487,234

Transport

4

1

25.0

$548,940

Unspecified

29

10

34.5

$7,311,644

Total

138

46

33.3

$32,611,772

Total within Science and Research Priorities

109

36

33.0

$25,300,128

Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%)

79.0

78.3

 

77.6

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 2022 applications by Administering Organisation.

Administering Organisation

Applications considered

Applications approved

Success rate (%)

Funds over project life for approved applications ($)

Australian Capital Territory

12

4

33.3

$1,599,888

The Australian National University

11

3

27.3

$1,284,864

University of Canberra

1

1

100.0

$315,024

New South Wales

54

18

33.3

$14,964,174

Charles Sturt University

1

0

0

-

Macquarie University

4

2

50.0

$2,046,279

Southern Cross University

1

0

0

-

The University of New South Wales

17

6

35.3

$6,024,373

The University of Newcastle

5

1

20.0

$420,347

The University of Sydney

15

5

33.3

$3,679,658

University of Technology, Sydney

4

2

50.0

$1,058,350

University of Wollongong

3

1

33.3

$521,816

Western Sydney University

4

1

25.0

$1,213,351

Queensland

18

6

33.3

$4,849,892

James Cook University

2

0

0

-

Queensland University of Technology

5

3

60.0

$1,997,296

The University of Queensland

10

3

30.0

$2,852,596

University of Southern Queensland

1

0

0

-

South Australia

9

4

44.4

$1,715,929

Flinders University

2

1

50.0

$405,049

The University of Adelaide

7

3

42.9

$1,310,880

Tasmania

1

1

100.0

$552,086

University of Tasmania

1

1

100.0

$552,086

Victoria

35

12

34.3

$8,544,803

Deakin University

3

0

0

-

La Trobe University

1

1

100.0

$675,000

Monash University

11

3

27.3

$3,519,691

RMIT University

3

0

0

-

Swinburne University of Technology

3

2

66.7

$1,071,723

The University of Melbourne

14

6

42.9

$3,278,389

Western Australia

9

1

11.1

$385,000

Curtin University

4

0

0

-

The University of Western Australia

5

1

20.0

$385,000

Total

138

46

33.3

$32,611,772

Career age and gender 

 

Of the 1396 Chief Investigators (CIs) in this round, 332 were female, 1057 were male and seven chose not to specify their gender. The success rate for female and male and unspecified CIs in Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 is 33.4 per cent, 32.5 per cent and 71.4 per cent respectively.

Success rates of CIs by career age and gender in Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 are presented in Figure 1. CIs who did not provide gender information (0.5 per cent) and CIs who did not specify the date of completion of their PhD or who do not hold a PhD (0.9 per cent) are not represented in the figure below.

Figure 1.  Participation and success rate of Chief Investigators (CIs) in Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 by gender and career age*

*Career age is calculated as years since PhD (or equivalent). The earliest PhD award date was used where there was more than one PhD.

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.

A summary of success rates by number of Eligible Organisations is shown in Table 5.

Table 5. Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 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

20

5

25.0

3

34

13

38.2

4

28

11

39.3

5

15

2

13.3

6

14

7

50.0

7

9

4

44.4

8

4

1

25.0

9

2

0

0

10

1

0

0

11

3

1

33.3

13

1

1

100.0

Total

138

46

33.3

* An application with only one Eligible Organisation (the Administering Organisation) may or may not include Partner Organisations and/or Other Organisations.  There were no applications with 12 Eligible Organisations.

A summary of application success rates by number of collaborating organisations is shown in Table 6.

Table 6.    Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 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

4

1

25.0

2

10

2

20.0

3

27

7

25.9

4

22

8

36.4

5

20

6

30.0

6

20

10

50.0

7

15

8

53.3

8

6

1

16.7

9

3

0

0

10

3

0

0

11

3

1

33.3

12

1

0

0

15

1

1

100.0

16

1

0

0

21

1

1

100.0

27

1

0

0

Total

138

46

33.3

* Collaborating organisations include the Administering Organisation, Other Eligible Organisations, Partner Organisations and Other Organisations. There were no applications with 13,14,17-20,22-26 collaborating organisations.

International Collaboration 

In the 138 applications considered, applicants foreshadowed 247 instances of collaboration with researchers in 38 overseas locations. Of the applications approved for funding, 33 foreshadowed 115 instances of collaboration with researchers in 28 overseas locations (Figure 2).

Figure 2.   International collaborations by location in approved Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2022 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 2022 applications approved for funding, for every dollar funded by the ARC the proposed dollar contribution of the collaborating organisations listed on these applications is $1.20. 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)

46

$32,611,772

76

259

$39,109,326

$1.20

*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 2022, 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 2022.

Applications approved for funding

Administering Organisation

Lead CI

SA Spectromicroscopy Facility: From Band Mapping to Atomic Scale Imaging

Flinders University

Harmer, Prof Sarah

A flow cytometry suite for multiscale biosorting

La Trobe University

Humbert, Prof Patrick

MAVIS: A Revolutionary New Instrument for the European Southern Observatory

Macquarie University

McDermid, A/Prof Richard

The MARVEL exoplanet facility

Schwab, Dr Christian

Advanced lattice light sheet microscope optimised for biological imaging

Monash University

Lieschke, Prof Graham

An in-situ and multiscale scanning electron microscopy suite

Preuss, Prof Michael

Near Infrared Fluorescence and Photoacoustic Imaging Facility

Egan, Prof Gary

A cyclic ion-mobility mass spectrometer for resolving molecular isomers

Queensland University of Technology

Blanksby, Prof Stephen

A platform for upscaled demonstration of emerging photovoltaic materials

Wang, Prof Hongxia

DynaMix-FM, dynamic mixed reality environment for future mobility

Glaser, Prof Sebastien

The Australian Emulation Network: Born Digital Cultural Collections Access

Swinburne University of Technology

Swalwell, Prof Melanie

Transportable high-power blue laser for processing of reflective materials

Juodkazis, Prof Saulius

Enhanced high-field nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

The Australian National University

Otting, Prof Gottfried

Integrated volatile-mineral-isotope micro-analysis of Earth environments

King, Prof Penelope

The milli-arcsecond cosmos: astrophysical imaging with Heimdallr

Ireland, Prof Michael

Enhancing the SA Regional Facility for Molecular Ecology & Evolution

The University of Adelaide

Sanders, A/Prof Kate

Mass spectrometry for mass geochronology

Spandler, A/Prof Carl

The Australian Rental Monitor: A Data Infrastructure

Baker, Prof Emma

A facility to produce and quantify accelerated flow mixing at high fidelity

The University of Melbourne

Klewicki, Prof Joseph

A geotechnical centrifuge to underpin Australia's energy and construction

Cassidy, Prof Mark

An autonomous sea state monitoring system for Australia's research fleet

Toffoli, A/Prof Alessandro

MATRIX: enhancing access to global research in the mathematical sciences

DeGier, Prof Jan

Modularised cultural heritage archives – future-proofing PARADISEC

Thieberger, A/Prof Nicholas

X-LAB beamline: accelerating applied research with tunable electron beams

Sheehy, Dr Suzie

Atomic Scale Control over Quantum Materials

The University of New South Wales

Rogge, Prof Sven

Australian Participation in the Legacy Survey of Space and Time

Brough, Prof Sarah

Facility for enabling low thermal budget Si/SiGe technologiestt

Michael, Dr Aron

Nano-IR Facility for the Search of New Multifunctional Materials

Seidel, Prof Jan

National groundwater recharge observing system

Baker, Prof Andrew

Space Resources Environmental Analogue Facility

Dempster, Prof Andrew

BioSHeM: A High-Resolution Imaging and Spectroscopic Helium Atom Microscope

The University of Newcastle

Dastoor, Prof Paul

An integrated analytical network for protein characterisation

The University of Queensland

Schulz, A/Prof Benjamin

Microanalytical Facility Supporting Resources Development and Manufacturing

Jak, Prof Evgueni

Solar Photovoltaics forecasting for efficient power management

Saha, Prof Tapan

Advanced materials synthesis and environmental characterisation facility

The University of Sydney

Bilek, Prof Marcela

Australian Peptide Display Facility

Payne, Prof Richard

Investigating biological processes in tissues by spatial profiling

Molloy, Prof Mark P

Metallurgical Facility for Solid-State Additive Manufacturing

Paradowska, Prof Anna

Versatile laser processing system for multi-disciplinary research

Ho-Baillie, Prof Anita

Equipment for research on future gravitational wave detectors

The University of Western Australia

Zhao, Dr Chunnong

A national eInfrastructure for high-resolution population spatial modelling

University of Canberra

Coffee, A/Prof Neil

HydroBox: A containerised hydrochemistry lab for Australian oceanography

University of Tasmania

Chase, Prof Zanna

A Secure Smart Sensing and Industry Analytics Facility for Industry 4.0

University of Technology Sydney

Xu, Prof Guandong

Australian 3D Beam Measurement Platform from Radio Waves to Terahertz Waves

Yang, Dr Yang

Scoping the world of ultra-thin film and ultra-high pressure environments

University of Wollongong

Wang, Prof Xiaolin

National Facility for Physical Fire Simulation

Western Sydney University

Tao, Prof Zhong