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Benchmarking DECRAs

Each round the ARC releases a range of useful statistics about the successful Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRAs). If you are thinking of applying you should check out their Grant Announcement Kits and follow up by looking at the details of the funded projects, particularly in your area.

One thing the ARC is not able to provide is benchmarking data on the Fellows. So over the last two years, when the results are announced, we have collected the publications metrics for all successful DECRA recipients. This helps us to build a profile of successful DECRAs.

The h-index of successful DECRAs ranged from 1-92, with an average of 14.7 and a standard deviation of 9.6:

Clearly there is a lot of variability across successful fellows. In order to try and make sense of what is going on we used the ARC’s advice on the distribution of FoRs across panels to see if variations in disciplinary practices explained some of the variation.

There is a clear trend with humanities and creative arts, social, behavioural and economic sciences researchers having the least publications and lowest h-indices and engineering, information and computer science researchers having the highest. Note however that there is still significant variance within each of these groupings as well as between.

There is a lot more to demonstrating your excellence as a researcher than simply your publication metrics. You also need to show that you are the right person to do the innovative and significant research you have proposed to do. While we are now booked up for DECRA strategic reviews for this round, if you are thinking of applying in the next round contact us at for strategic advice on career development or to book in a review or workshop for next year.


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