Australian Math Society Web Site

1997 ARC large grants

This file contains a list of successful new mathematics grants which were announced in November 1996 from the Mathematics and Physics Panel of the Australian Research Council. There will of course be a number of mathematicians who will have received funding from other panels, and we'll be happy to publish a supplementary list if recipients send us the appropriate details (

Following the list of new grants are some comments by Ian Sloan, who is presently on the Mathematics and Physics Panel.

Also of interest might be

Mathematics new grants from Mathematics & Physics Panel

(Corrected 11/12/96)


I have assembled the above list from the partial information available to me at the present time; I apologise in advance for errors and omissions. Note that this list covers only new grants from the Mathematics and Physics (or A6) Panel. The overall success rate was just over 21%, which is extremely disappointing. (However, the figure for pure mathematics, in which area this year's applications were particularly strong, was over 24%.)

Part of the problem for the A6 Panel was that this year there was a substantial increase in the number of applications to this Panel, which was not matched by a commensurate increase in funds. (The benefit will be felt next year - there is a 1-year delay.)

It was particularly unfortunate for our discipline that the increase in number of applicants occurred in physics rather than in mathematics, leading inexplorably to a fall in the proportion of grants going to mathematics. (The mathematics proportion dropped from nearly 40% in 1996 to 31% in 1997). For it is a simple fact of life that the number of successful grant applications in mathematics is closely linked to the total number of (serious) applications. (It should be said, though, that the 1996 proportion was considerably higher than the 1995 figure. I do not have access to information from earlier years.)

In the belief that next year things will be better, I strongly urge those who were not successful this year to absorb whatever lessons they can from this year's brutal experience, and try again. (It is probably good advice not to submit exactly the same proposal: you should think through the whole project afresh, so that it comes across with maximum impact.)

I also believe that mathematics departments need to promote the view (e.g. by giving preference in the award of small ARC grants) that those who make strong but unsuccessful ARC large grant applications (including all those who survive the first cull) deserve to be appreciated and supported in other ways.

If you consider that you received a particularly silly referee's report this year, you can ask that the Panel not use Assessor such and such a number next time. (We hate this, but people do it, and we are apparently obliged to respect your wishes.) Incidentally, a surprisingly large number of nominated assessors don't reply at all. Do make sure that your nominated assessors are available, and willing to act.

Finally, you should be aware that the choice of key words is now important, because the ARC makes increasing use of an electronic assessor database to throw up suggestions for assessors. It is probably good advice to use some key words that are generic e.g. (``analysis"), and others that are more specific (``hyperbolic", ``numerical"). Do not use keywords from another discipline (e.g. ``mechanics") unless you are happy to be assessed by someone from that other discipline.

Ian Sloan

Member, A6 Large Grants Panel

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Last Update: 1 August 1997