27 March 2018

In December 2017 and March 2018, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and the Australian Academy of Science, with the support of the ARC, hosted workshops targeting specific discipline fields for the upcoming ARC Centres of Excellence selection round.

The workshop in December 2017 focused on the humanities and social sciences fields and the workshop in March 2018 focused on the biological sciences field. About 100 people attended each workshop, with some travelling long distances to attend.

Both workshops provided researchers and research administrators with the opportunity to hear from the ARC and ARC Centres of Excellence, with presentations and Q&A sessions. Researchers also had the chance to network and discuss possible Centres of Excellence proposals. ARC staff were on hand with information about application and assessment processes, and ARC expectations of successful Centres of Excellence.

Centres of Excellence representatives included past and current Centre Directors and senior Chief Investigators. They spoke about the importance of collaboration and research integration, the inclusion of multidisciplinary research, the value of developing partnerships, the necessity of outreach and communicating and translating outcomes, and advised on crafting a proposal.

ARC representatives outlined the application and assessment process and spoke about the high regard in which the Centres of Excellence are held. ARC staff were also instrumental in some mythbusting. For example:

  • There are no ‘magic’ or optimal numbers on a Centre of Excellence proposal. Each application should have the best and most appropriate people and organisations to answer the big question/issue the Centre of Excellence will address.
  • Proposals from existing Centres of Excellence are not given preferential treatment and there is no special funding allocation set aside. All proposals are assessed and considered through the same process and are funded from a single scheme funding allocation.
  • The ARC Centres of Excellence scheme has never been funded through the Discovery Program. From its first selection round in 2002, the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme has been a part of the Linkage Program due to its focus on collaboration, integration and networks.

We extend our thanks to the Academies for organising and hosting the workshops, and our sincere appreciation to those Centre Directors and Chief Investigators who took time out of their busy schedules to attend and contribute their insights.