Australian Mathematical Society Web Site

ARC large grants

The ARC announces the results of its Large Grant applications at the end of each calendar year. We hope to keep a reasonable list of the holders of these grants within the discipline of Mathematics. (This is of course slightly ill-defined.) Unfortunately at present the ARC has not released a list of the successful applicants to the Mathematics and Physics panel announced in 1998, so preparing the latest list is proving a little time consuming. In the meantime, interested readers can download the entire list of successful large research grants across all disciplines (about 500K).

(This page is no longer available, but a selection of the information is available here.)

This file contains a list of successful mathematics grants which were announced in November 1997 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 (

Also of interest might be

Mathematics grants from Mathematics & Physics Panel 1999-2001

Note: The institutions named below are those that will administer the grant. Some of the Chief Investigators are based at other institutions.

Some comments from Ian Sloan

(Chair of the Mathematics and Physics Panel)

This year there were 60 large grants from the Maths and Physics Panel, plus one special investigator (J F Williams for UWA, in experimental atomic physics). That represents a success rate (counting the special investigator) of around 19.7%.

I think it is important to reflect a little on what a success rate of this order actually means. People often speak as if a successs rate of 20% means that one in five of Australia's academic researchers receive funding, but that is simply incorrect. What it means is that (on the average) one in five OF THOSE WHO APPLY receive funding. In some disciplines it is already the case that the pool of applicants taken over a three year cycle is much smaller than the number of academic researchers in the discipline, because many in the discipline have decided that applying for large grants is for them a waste of time, and so have withdrawn from the competition. The result of the withdrawals is that the remaining pool of applicants contains a higher proportion of applicants who ought to have a reasonable expectation of success.

In such a situation there is a real possibility of a progressive downward spiral in the number of applications, very soon leading to complete collapse. In some disciplines I think that there is evidence that this is already happening. This is something that ought to concern professional associations, who might want to argue that the extremely low funding levels of the last two years put at risk the very viability of the Large Grants scheme.

I finish with one further comment about the 1998 maths grants. I know that there has been much comment about the grants in pure mathematics in particular, so let me give some figures. If we say that there were 10 pure mathematics grants (there is always some question of definition), then that represents a success rate of 25% - for there were only 40 pure maths applications! The fact that this is higher than the general success rate reflects a perception of high quality of the pure maths applications (see above!). But it is obvious that other disciplines have to "pay" for this.

I hope that this casts a little light on a troubled subject.

Ian Sloan

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Any suggestions, complaints etc about this site should be sent to the editor, Ian Doust

Last Update: 6 May 1998