Linkage Projects 2018 Selection Report
for proposals submitted 20 December 2017 to 20 December 2018 (as at 5 July 2019) 

Overview

The Linkage Projects scheme provides funding to Eligible Organisations to support research and development (R&D) projects which are collaborative between higher education researchers and other parts of the national innovation system, which are undertaken to acquire new knowledge, and which involve risk or innovation. 

The objectives of the Linkage Projects scheme are to:

  • support the initiation and/or development of long-term strategic research alliances between higher education organisations and other organisations, including industry and other research end-users, in order to apply advanced knowledge to problems and/or to provide opportunities to obtain national economic, social or cultural benefits
  • provide opportunities for internationally competitive research projects to be conducted in collaboration with organisations outside the higher education sector, targeting those who have demonstrated a clear commitment to high-quality research 
  • encourage growth of a national pool of world-class researchers to meet the needs of the broader Australian innovation system
  • build the scale and focus of research in the national Science and Research Priorities.

Selection Process

This report outlines recommendations from the selection process for Linkage Projects 2018 proposals, which used a continuous submission and assessment process. Proposals 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 ARC Selection Advisory Committees (SAC) which: 

  • assigned independent assessors to review the proposals
  • assessed proposals and reviewed assessments made by independent assessors
  • reviewed applicants’ comments on assessors’ reports
  • ranked each proposal relative to the others on the basis of the proposal, the assessors’ reports and applicants’ responses to those assessments
  • assessed and recommended budgets

and, advice from the ARC 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 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 Linkage Projects 2018 proposals are:

  • Investigator(s) (25%)
  • Project Quality and Innovation (25%)
  • Feasibility (20%)
  • Benefit (30%).

The ARC assessment process for Linkage Projects 2018 used a total of 74 SAC members across four discipline panels and was managed in the RMS. A total of 1757 independent assessors’ reports were submitted to the ARC for Linkage Projects 2018.

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 proposal.

Summary of Outcomes

The ARC received a total of 448 proposals for Linkage Projects 2018, none of which were withdrawn. Of the unsuccessful proposals, 23 were found to not meet eligibility requirements.

The overall success rate for Linkage Projects for funding applied for in 2018 is 31.3 per cent, with a higher percentage of allocation of requested funds compared to Linkage Projects 2017. 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 Linkage Projects proposals from 2017 and 2018

Scheme Round 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 (%)
2017 417 132 31.7 $202,098,882 $65,285,426 $53,330,220 81.7
2018 448 140 31.3 $218,670,119 $72,558,642 $60,550,623 83.5

Outcomes by discipline panels

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

Table 2. Proposal numbers, success rates and requested and allocated funds for approved Linkage Projects 2018 proposals by discipline panel

Panel* Proposals considered Proposals approved Success rate (%) Requested funds over project life (all proposals considered) Requested funds over project life (approved proposals) Approved funds over project life (approved proposals) Allocation as a percentage of request (%)
BEM 84 24 28.6 $46,545,122 $13,453,511 $11,496,175 85.5
ET 114 35 30.7 $53,814,791 $17,531,119 $14,708,194 83.9
HSE 164 50 30.5 $74,853,706 $24,529,654 $20,373,428 83.1
PMI 86 31 36.0 $43,456,500 $17,044,358 $13,972,826 82.0
Total 448 140 31.3 $218,670,119 $72,558,642 $60,550,623 83.5

*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 2018 proposals by Science and Research Priority

Priority area Proposals considered Proposals approved Success rate (%) Approved funds (over project life)
Advanced Manufacturing 75 30 40.0 $12,876,512
Cybersecurity 10 5 50.0 $2,010,000
Energy 28 8 28.6 $3,345,230
Environmental Change 61 13 21.3 $6,620,641
Food 26 10 38.5 $5,073,531
Health 82 16 19.5 $6,441,957
Resources 17 6 35.3 $2,892,225
Soil and Water 23 11 47.8 $4,853,497 
Transport 16 5 31.3 $2,100,244 
None selected 110 36 32.7 $14,336,786
Total Proposals 448 140 31.3 $60,550,623
Total Proposals within Science and Research Priorities 338 104 30.8 $46,213,837 
Percentage within Science and Research Priorities (%) 75.4 74.3   76.3

Leverage of ARC Funding

Of the 448 proposals considered, 140 were approved with a total approved funding of $60.6 million over the life of these projects. There are 346 unique Partner Organisations involved with these projects and they have pledged a total (cash and in-kind) of $104.7 million. This represents $1.73 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 proposals, success rates, ARC approved funding and Partner Organisation contributions for approved Linkage Projects 2018 proposals by Administering Organisation

Administering Organisation Proposals considered Proposals approved Success rate (%) ARC approved funding over project life (approved proposals) Partner Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved proposals)
Australian Capital Territory 17 6 35.3 $3,205,113 $4,462,570
The Australian National University 15 6 40.0 $3,205,113  $4,462,570
University of Canberra 2 0 0 - -
New South Wales 151 42 27.8 $17,449,238 $28,107,992
Australian Catholic University 4 2 50.0 $829,167 $1,593,550
Macquarie University 9 1 11.1 $472,635 *
Southern Cross University 2 0 0 - -
The University of New England 1 0 0 - -
The University of New South Wales 60 16 26.7 $6,813,829 $12,803,717
The University of Newcastle 13 2 15.4 $703,527 $917,686
The University of Sydney 35 10 28.6 $4,716,402 $6,057,537
University of Technology Sydney 8 5 62.5 $1,945,701 $3,356,969
University of Wollongong 15 4 26.7 $1,482,727 $2,058,908
Western Sydney University 4 2 50.0 $485,250 $508,092
Queensland 87 27 31.0 $10,945,785 $23,107,928 
Central Queensland University 1 0 0 - -
Griffith University 19 4 21.1 $1,455,560 $4,201,595
James Cook University 3 1 33.3 $394,015 *
Queensland University of Technology 22 7 31.8 $3,192,760 $5,614,016
The University of Queensland 40 15 37.5 $5,903,450 $12,649,029
University of the Sunshine Coast 2 0 0 - -
South Australia 33 11 33.3 $5,070,813 $7,907,644
Flinders University 9 4 44.4 $2,206,892 $3,573,562
The University of Adelaide 18 5 27.8 $2,092,291 $3,082,689
University of South Australia 6 2 33.3 $771,630 $1,251,393
Tasmania 3 1 33.3 $178,117 *
University of Tasmania 3 1 33.3 $178,117 *
Victoria 126 44 34.9 $19,723,932 $30,914,669 
Deakin University 16 4 25.0 $1,955,801 $3,103,477
La Trobe University 6 1 16.7 $236,657 *
Monash University 27 11 40.7 $4,869,494 $7,830,472
RMIT University 16 5 31.3 $2,084,980 $3,002,425
Swinburne University of Technology 9 6 66.7 $3,003,583 $5,066,122
The University of Melbourne 51 17 33.3 $7,573,417 $11,633,387
Victoria University 1 0 0 - -
Western Australia 31 9 29.0 $3,977,625 $9,776,029 
Curtin University 16 5 31.3 $1,913,544 $3,426,802
Edith Cowan University 1 0 0 - -
Murdoch University 1 0 0 - -
The University of Western Australia 13 4 30.8 $2,064,081 $6,349,227
Total 448 140 31.3 $60,550,623 $104,747,062 

* For confidentiality reasons, total contributions by Partner Organisations are not shown in instances in which Administering Organisations are associated with one approved proposal 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 2018 proposals approved for funding are shown below in Table 5. 

Table 5. Partner Organisation contributions by sector for approved Linkage Projects 2018 proposals

Type   Cash In-Kind Total
    $ % $ % $ %
Government              
Australian Federal   $513,705 1.6 $3,539,655 4.9 $4,053,360  3.9
Australian state, territory and local   $9,149,385 28.0 $21,419,394 29.7 $30,568,779 29.2
International   - - $155,048  0.2 $155,048 0.2
  Sub-total $9,663,090 29.6 $25,114,097 34.8 $34,777,187 33.2
Industry Body              
Australian   $10,151,283 31.1 $16,724,909 23.2 $26,876,192 25.7
International   $9,355,188 28.7 $9,443,081 13.1 $18,798,269 18.0
  Sub-total $19,506,471 59.7 $26,167,990 36.3 $45,674,461 43.6
Non-profit              
Australian   $1,536,062 4.7 $9,281,512 12.9 $10,817,574 10.3
International   $230,000 0.7 $1,187,567 1.7 $1,417,567 1.4
  Sub-total $1,766,062 5.4 $10,469,079 14.5 $12,235,141 11.7
Higher Education              
International   $6,000 0.02 $4,589,405 6.4 $4,595,405 4.4
  Sub-total $6,000 0.02 $4,589,405 6.4 $4,595,405 4.4
Other              
Other   $1,712,083 5.2 $5,752,785 8.0 $7,464,868 7.1 
  Sub-total $1,712,083 5.2 $5,752,785 8.0 $7,464,868 7.1 
  Total $32,653,706 100 $72,093,356 100 $104,747,062 100

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

Partnerships 

Linkage Projects proposals represent partnerships between researchers, higher education organisations and other organisations, as well as collaborations between Partner Organisations within projects. There are a total of 380 instances of collaboration with Partner Organisations (including multiple collaborations with a number of organisations) in Linkage Projects 2018 giving an average of 2.71 Partner Organisations involved in each proposal. These partnerships form congruent and/or complementary linkages in Fields of Research (FoR). A summary of the FoR categories identified by applicants of approved proposals and the total Partner Organisation contributions are shown below in Table 6. 

Table 6. Proposal data by Field of Research category for Linkage Projects 2018                                                                                                                          

Field of Research category Number of proposals approved # Partner Organisation contributions (cash & in-kind) over project life (approved proposals)
Mathematical Sciences 2 $2,328,620
Physical Sciences 2 $1,364,354
Chemical Sciences 11 $6,637,494
Earth Sciences 6 $6,633,290
Environmental Sciences 9 $8,482,988
Biological Sciences 9 $8,446,662
Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences 5 $3,065,804
Information and Computing Sciences 10 $6,875,749
Engineering 31 $21,702,216
Technology 4 $2,365,512
Medical and Health Sciences 4 $3,145,790
Education 8 $8,612,411
Economics 1 *
Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services 2 $2,299,696
Studies in Human Society 9 $4,741,164
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences 6 $4,261,227
Law and Legal Studies 1 *
Studies in Creative Arts and Writing 7 $5,484,323
Language, Communication and Culture 8 $2,917,312
History and Archaeology 4 $3,175,284
Philosophy and Religious Studies 1 *
Total 140 $104,747,062

# 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 proposal 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 2543 participants were named on all proposals considered in this round. Of these, 877 were female, 1660 were male and six 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 proposals is 29.4 per cent and 35.5 per cent respectively. A total of 292 of the proposals considered had a male lead CI, of which 94 were successful, representing a 32.2 per cent success rate. A total of 155 of the proposals considered had a female lead CI, of which 46 were successful, representing a 29.7 per cent success rate.

Figure 1. Participation and success rates by age and gender for Linkage Projects 2018

International Collaboration

Among 448 of the proposals considered, applicants foreshadowed 419 instances of collaboration with researchers in 54 overseas locations. Of the proposals approved for funding, 80 foreshadowed 134 instances of collaboration with researchers in 28 overseas locations (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Instances of international collaboration on approved proposals in Linkage Projects 2018