Excellence in Research for Australia

Introduction:

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) is a federal government initiative that aims to identify and promote excellence across the full spectrum of research activity in Australia’s higher education institutions. ERA exercise is led by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and evaluates the quality of the research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks. The ratings are determined and moderated by committees of distinguished researchers. ERA exercise was conducted in 2010 and 2012 and will be repeated in 2015.

The indicators used in ERA include a range of metrics such as citation profiles which are common to disciplines in the natural sciences, and peer review of a sample of research outputs which is more broadly common in the humanities and social sciences. Nationally, over 1000 researchers were involved in the 2012 evaluations, as committee members or peer reviewers. Each research active discipline at each university was awarded a rating on a five-point scale, where three is world standard and five is the highest rating, indicating research well above world standards.

ERA uses the 157 four digit field of research codes jointly produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Statistics New Zealand (Statistics NZ) to categorize and rate the quality of research conducted by Australian universities.  For each field of research in which a university is assessed, one of the below ratings is awarded.

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ERA Rating Scale

Rating Descriptor
5

Characterised by evidence of outstanding performance well above world standard

4

Characterised by evidence of performance above world standard

3

Characterised by evidence of average performance at world standard

2

Characterised by evidence of performance below world standard

1

Characterised by evidence of performance well below world standard

The ERA 2010 and ERA 2012 assessment exercises have shown the breadth and upward trajectory of research excellence occurring at UTAS. UTAS is now preparing for ERA 2015.