Updated: Jun 8
Following closely behind the Early and Mid-Career Industry Fellowships, the Industry Laureate Fellowships (IL23) were announced on May 8, 2023. Eight outstanding researchers were awarded Industry Laureate Fellowships, with the intention they will provide leadership in delivering high quality and impactful research collaborations, translation and commercialisation outcomes across a range of industry settings.
In our previous two blogs 'ARC Early-Career Industry Fellowships' and 'ARC Mid-Career Industry Fellowships', we investigated the track record characteristics of successful early and mid-career fellows and examined the history of close collaborations with their Key Industry Partner/s. We have taken the same approach with the successful Industry Laureate fellows and gathered data from publicly available profiles and publication databases.
If you are considering an application in the next round, or unfortunately missed out this year, this information may help you benchmark your track record and put you on the right path towards a more successful application.
University or industry-based researchers?
The ARC Industry Fellowships scheme aims to build skills and networks across universities and industry driving university-industry collaborations to provide tangible outcomes for Australians. While the Laureate Industry awardees had strong industry backgrounds, they were all university-based researchers, with three of the eight fellows coming from the University of Adelaide.
Traditional outputs/publication metrics
Peer assessment of an applicant’s track record often relies on traditional metrics, including the total number of publications, citations and h-index. When looking at the metrics from the recent Laureate Industry fellows, we found the total number of publications ranged from 88 to 682 (mean number of 396) (Figure 1), total cites ranged from 1,601 to 110,290 (mean value of 23,456), and h-index ranged from 21 to 170 (mean value of 63) (Figure 2) – all values obtained from Google Scholar except for one fellow (data obtained from Scopus). When removing one major outlier (h-index=170, p<0.01) the h-index of awardees was normally distributed around a mean of 48 (min=21, max=75).
These values are reasonably consistent with our evaluation of the equivalent successful 2022 ARC Australian Laureate fellows, who had a mean number of total publications of 359 (ranging from 79 to 917) and a mean h-index value of 67 (ranging from 26 to 121).
Figure 1. Total number of publications of successful Industry Laureate Fellows 2023. Data obtained from Google Scholar.
Figure 2. H-index values of successful Industry Laureate Fellows 2023
In a scheme where the primary goal is to create a pathway to support researchers to establish careers in industry and develop translatable outcomes (‘impact’ worth 25%), it is expected that past evidence of IP and commercialisation would be an asset to most applicants. As such, over half of successful fellows (5/8) had patents in their publication/track records, with each of these five fellows named on at least two patents.
For those fellows without patents, we found evidence of impact through translation and/or commercialisation of research via industry reports, commissioned reports, or other industry-relevant guidelines. It is worth noting that evidence of either patents or industry reports may not be publicly available, as some of these outputs may be confidential, thus the summary presented here represents only publicly available data and may not provide the complete picture of a fellow’s track record.
Prior funding success
Unlike the early and mid-career Industry Fellows, all Industry Laureate fellows had success in receiving prior funding from a range of government and industry funders, including:
ARC and NHMRC grant successes
Four Fellows previously held an ARC Future Fellowship, and of these awardees, one had also held an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship.
All fellows had success in other ARC funding schemes. At least seven held multiple ARC Linkage Projects (LP) (mean number of four, ranging from two to nine), and most had prior ARC Discovery Project (DP) success, with multiple funded projects (one fellow was lead CI on two DPs).
Three fellows were involved with other Linkage Scheme programs, such as the Industrial Transformation Research Hub Program, which supports university-based research and industry collaborations to undertake cutting-edge research on new technologies and economic, commercial, and social transformation to benefit industry partners in the Industrial Transformation Priority areas.
Four fellows were also part of ARC Centres of Excellence that support significant collaborations between universities, publicly funded research organisations, other research bodies, government, and industry in Australia and overseas to undertake innovative and potentially transformational research.
Three fellows were supported through an ARC Special Research Initiative aimed at funding new and emerging field of research and building Australia’s global competitiveness in strategically important areas.
Two fellows were part of the ARC Research Networks program that funded collaborative approaches to research in inter-disciplinary settings.
Three fellows had previous success with Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) or CRC Project (CRC-P) funding. These schemes support short (CRC-P) or medium to long-term (CRC) industry-led research collaborations to develop a product, service or process to solve identified problems to improve Australian industries.
At least three successful fellows had prior industry-specific funding and at least one fellow received government funding through the departments of health and education.
At least four fellows received grants from international charity and research institutes and at least two were awarded funding through non-for-profit or philanthropic organisations.
In summary, the 2023 Industry Laureate fellows had significant prior success in obtaining traditional competitive Category 1 grant funding (e.g. ARC and NHMRC) in both fellowship and research program schemes (represented in Figure 3). Most awardees had previously held industry-related funding ranging from industry-commissioned projects through to large-scale research centres.
Figure 3. Word cloud of characteristics and frequency of successful 2023 Industry
Relationship with the identified industry partner(s)
Applicants were asked to demonstrate that their projects mutually benefitted both their team and their Key Industry Partners, including the potential to lead to longer term collaborations. This is demonstrated through previous projects and current research collaborations on the proposed research, showing evidence of strong partnerships with their Key Industry Partner that have existed over time.
From the list of awardees, we found that half (4/8) listed only one Key Industry Partner. The remaining four Fellows listed between three and six Key Industry Partners. When we looked for evidence of past engagement of successful fellows with their identified Key Industry Partners we found:
Three fellows had either current or recent Linkage Projects with their proposed Key Industry Partner.
Two fellows collaborated with their Key Industry Partners through the award of Industrial Transformation Research Hub Program Grants and one fellow was named on a CRC-Project led by their Key Industry Partner.
One fellow was the founder of the startup company named as their Key Industry Partner.
At least three fellows have strategic partnerships with their Key Industry Partner through their institutional leadership roles and at least one fellow was directly funded by their Key Industry partner.
In all instances, we found a direct link between the fellow and their Key Industry Partner, indicating a maturity of relationship and alignment that will facilitate longer-term research collaborations across a range of industry settings.
Field of research
We looked at the range of research fields in which funding was awarded. As we observed with the early and mid-career Industry Fellowships, most (7/8) projects were in traditionally industry-focussed research fields, such as engineering (4), chemical sciences (1), environmental sciences (1) and health sciences (1). Although no projects were funding under the category of biological sciences, one project was awarded in physical sciences (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Fields of research of Industry Laureate projects 2023
We found that IL23 fellows had exceptional leadership experience and an outstanding track record with evidence of impactful collaboration with their Key Industry Partners. This reflects their potential to tackle industry-related problems and create appropriate and commercially translatable solutions that will benefit industry practice moving forward (Criterion 1- Impact). Their commitment to the success of the project was demonstrated through long-term engagement with their Key Industry Partner/s, including joint projects and grant funding, which will be extended through the awarding of this Fellowship (Criterion 2 – Commitment and Alignment).
Candidates’ capability and expert skills were identified through their ability to lead ground-breaking and internationally competitive research, creating a collaborative legacy with industry and/or other research end-user groups (Criterion 3: Candidate Capability). It is also an expectation that the applicants work closely with their Key Industry Partner/s in drafting and designing the proposed program of research to ensure that the aims and conceptual framework appropriately address the industry challenge (Criterion 4: Research Quality and Innovation), which for all of the three industry fellowship schemes, involved co-location with their Key Industry Partner or to be based in industry for a minimum 20% of the project duration.
Are you thinking about applying for the next round of ARC Industry Laureate Fellowships? If you would like to discuss our strategic review service or learn about the range of services we offer, including our grant development coaching programs for grant submissions, such as the ARC’s Industry Fellowships Scheme, email us today at email@example.com to start the conversation.