Strategic goal

To strive for an international research agenda of relevance to the community it serves.


UWA undertakes research across all disciplines focused on issues of relevance to its communities and industries while generating understanding and solutions of global value, and offers high-quality research training principally through its Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs.

Key performance indicators

Achievement of this goal will be measured by the following indicators:

2.1. Research income (effectiveness)
2.2. Publications (effectiveness, efficiency)
2.3. Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) (effectiveness)

The 2015 report included KPIs for HDR completions. While these remain important internal metrics, the progress towards achieving strategic aspirations is best represented by the metrics currently presented.

2.1. Research income

Research funds earned by an institution provide an indication of its effectiveness in conducting relevant and valued research, while also informing the community how the University funds its efforts towards the advancement of knowledge. The Australian Competitive Grants funds are allocated on the basis of competitive bids to the Australian Research Council (ARC), the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), primary industry research and development corporations, and other Commonwealth departments and organisations. An institution's share of research income is a proxy measure of research relevance and competitiveness.

As shown in the table below, in 2015 the University received $195 million in total research income, which equates to an average of $157,324 per academic staff FTE (excluding casual appointments). This total research income places UWA seventh in Australia for funding relative to size. UWA's overall decline in national share of total research income and fall in ranked position is due to a substantially lower Australian Competitive Grants (ACG) income (down $20.6 million) in 2015, caused by lower success rates of grant applications but confounded by a significant reduction in Australian Research Council funding across the sector.

In 2014, research contract income fell sharply against prior year performance, the result of a number of funding agreements coming to the end of their term. Figures in 2015 demonstrate considerable growth towards returning to pre-2014 figures. Dedicated efforts to grow international research income across a number of initiatives have increased revenue in this income line.

The University continues to seek further increases in its research income, and the diversity of sources of that income, to grow its research capacity.

Research income awarded to UWA, 2012-2015
  20122013 2014 2015 2015 target
Total research income ($M)$210$214$204$195$205
Total research income per academic FTE at Level B+(a) ($)$171,607$171,280$161,581$157,324$165,000
Share of national research income (%)6.1%6.0%5.5%5.2%6.0%
National rank(b)3rd3rd6th7th-
Australian Competitive Grants ($M)$101$109$108$87$108
International research income ($M)$10$12$12$16$12
Research contract income ($M)$32$30$19$26$19
Share of national research income (%)6.1%6.0%5.5%5.2%6.0%

Data source: Commonwealth Government Higher Education Research Data Collections, figures in millions are rounded to the nearest million.
Notes: (a) Full-time equivalence of academic staff at lecturer Level B and above, excluding casual appointments; (b) Rank based upon total research income per academic staff FTE at Level B and above relative to Australian universities.

2.2. Publications

UWA is committed to communicating its research globally through highquality publications. The numbers of refereed publications in reputable journals and other publications are effectiveness indicators that measure the research output of a university, while the numbers of weighted publications per academic staff FTE are efficiency indicators that give an indication of research productivity. Publications in the top journal quintile are used to benchmark research outputs regardless of differences in size and disciplinary profiles, and to showcase the presence of publications in journals considered to be the most prestigious around the world.

Publication output per academic continues to grow without diminishing quality, as measured by the proportion published in top quintile journals. Output performance varies from target due to a change in methodology between setting the target and reporting. Data collections previously required by the Commonwealth Government have changed, influencing the methods of benchmarking.

The 2015 target was set prior to the Commonwealth Government ceasing to collect publication data via the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC). HERDC weighted publications both in terms of books (value of five) and an institution’s share of the authorship of a publication. As we are unable to calculate authorship share at a national level, this KPI now measures whole publications rather than apportioned publications.

Revised figures have been provided for past years in the table below.

Selected weighted(a) research publications per academic staff FTE(b) and percentage of UWA articles published in the top 20% journals, 2011   2015
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015 target(c)
UWA weighted research publications per academic staff FTE2.
National weighted research publications per academic staff FTE1. 
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015 target(c)
% UWA articles published in the top 20% journals(d)47%46%47%46%47%50%

Data source: Publications: (books, book chapters, articles in scholarly refereed journals and full written papers in refereed proceedings) as indexed in Scopus (;
Staff FTE: Commonwealth Government Higher Education Staff Collection; Top 20 per cent journal list generated with Clarviate’s Journal Citation Report. Proportion of articles published in the top 20 per cent of journals generated using the Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation Index, in the Web of Science.
Notes: (a) Books are weighted 5:1; (b) Full-time equivalent of academic staff at Level B or above, excluding casual appointments; (c) Reported to 2015 instead of 2016 as data in Scopus has not been finalised for 2016 due to timing of actual publication and the data collation in Scopus; (d)Top 20 per cent journals are the top quintile journals based on the number of citations per citable publications as it relates to the Web of Science category to which it is mapped.
These KPIs have been modified since the 2015 report to limit the output metric to weighted publications/academic (excluding the count of publications). The quality metric has been adjusted to the proportion of publications in the top quintile of journals, rather than a count of citations. The KPIs as currently presented allow universities of different scales to be compared.

2.3. Excellence in Research for Australia

The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise is a national rating and comparison mechanism for the quality of research by field. Fields of research are rated one to five (five = well above world standard, one = well below world standard). Ratings of four and five indicate that fields of research are above world standard, which provide a measure of progress towards the goal of world-renowned research. There is no target for 2016 as ERA is run every three years, and the next results are due in 2018. The most recent data is from the 2015 exercise.

Between the 2012 and 2015 ERA rounds, UWA doubled the number of fields of research in which it is considered to be conducting research that is well above world standard. In the 2015 submission the Australian Research Council deemed two-thirds of all UWA’s submission to be above (four) or well above (five) world standard.

Count of fields of research(a) rated well above world standard (five) and above world standard (four) in the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA), 2012 and 2015.
 201220152015 target
Fields of research rated well above world standard (five rating)244
Fields of research rated above world standard (four rating)10910
% of fields of research rated above or well above world standard(b)57%62%*

Data source: Australian Research Council, Excellence in Australia (
Notes: (a) ERA ratings in this instance are collected at the two-digit level of field of research; (b) Fields of research rated four or five as a percentage of all fields of research assessed.
This is a new KPI and was not reported in the 2015 Annual Report.