Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) is an Australian Research Council (ARC) assessment system that evaluates the quality of the research conducted at Australian universities by discipline. It identifies the research strengths of individual universities and of the sector as a whole.

In 2015, the third round of ERA evaluations was completed, the full results are available on the ARC website.

Information collected for ERA

The ARC collects information from universities about past research activities:

  • Publications (journal papers, books, conference proceedings) and other research outputs (translations, exhibitions, creative works)
  • Awards
  • Grants
  • Income from industry and other research users
  • Income from the commercialisation of research
  • Other applied measures such as patents

Research quality is evaluated in groups defined by 2-digit and 4-digit Field of Research (FoR) codes. The final report of the University’s research quality will rate the performance in each FoR code against a world standard, using a scale of 1 to 5. A score of 3 is research at world standard; a 4 is research above world standard; and a 5 is research well above world standard.

Many staff at the University contributed to the ERA submissions, including the associate deans of research, faculty research officers and field of research coordinators, the Research portfolio, and a dedicated ERA team.

The ERA team compriseds two ERA Stewards (Peer Review and Citation); members of the Research Portfolio Research Reporting, Analysis, Data and Systems and Research Development teams; and the Chair of the Faculty Research Managers Network.

How ERA data is used

ERA provides us with a benchmark of our research against a world standard, and informs research funding from the government.

The data from ERA is used to produce the Australian Research Council’s ERA National Report.

ERA also allows us to determine our strengths and areas of opportunity and how our research performance compares with other Australian universities.

The government uses ERA data to inform the Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) component of the block funding that universities receive to sustain excellence in research.

ERA and HERDC compared

ERA provides us with a benchmark of our research against a world standard, and informs a component of research funding from the government. There have been three rounds of ERA evaluations: 2010, 2012, and 2015.

Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) is an annual report of research publications and research income data, collected by the Department of Education. The Commonwealth Government uses HERDC data to determine the allocation of research block grants and other government funding to universities.

Where HERDC is based around the quantity of our outputs and income, ERA is focused on the quality of our research.