Program 5 – Science and Industry Endowment Fund

The Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) is a separately constituted trust under the Science and Industry Endowment Act 1926 and makes strategic investments in scientific research for the purpose of supporting scientific and industrial research for the benefit of Australia and its people.

The SIEF makes strategic investments in scientific research that addresses issues of national priority for Australia. The Fund invests in science that contributes to Australia’s sustainable future such as:

  • fundamental research for sustainable resource use, environmental protection and community health
  • tactical research addressing solutions to national challenges
  • collaborative research that brings together organisations capable of working together on solutions to national challenges
  • scholarships that create and sustain young researchers capable of addressing national challenges.

Recognising that science has been, and will be, a key driver of the economic, industrial, environmental, and cultural development of Australia, the SIEF invests in research that will contribute to the sustainable growth of Australia.

The Chief Executive of CSIRO, Dr Megan Clark, is the Trustee of the Fund. Dr Clark is assisted by the SIEF Advisory Council, which provides independent advice and recommendations to the Trustee in relation to the making of grants and funding of proposals out of the assets of the SIEF. The Fund is managed by CSIRO on behalf of the Trustee.

Funding is awarded by the Trustee, with advice from Australian and international experts, to proponents from across the National Innovation System. Some of the programs are operated on a competitive basis, and others are operated by invitation on the basis of identified needs of the Australian science community.

The SIEF delivers funding via a number of programs:

  • Research Project grants (competitive)
  • Research infrastructure grants
  • Special research program grant (Synchrotron science)
  • Joint chair appointment (CSIRO/Macquarie University)
  • Research fellowships/scholarships (competitive).

SIEF – Program performance

The performance of SIEF is assessed through four performance indicators. Table 2.19 provides a summary of progress. More detailed analysis follows the Table.


Key performance indicator Performance

Proportion of projects involving research in National Research Priority areas

100% Research Projects

76% Promotion of Science

Number of publications from SIEF projects


Proportion of projects involving more than one organisation

More than 85%

Financial contributions of partners

 Approximately 57%

Key performance indicators for SIEF have been chosen to address the objectives of the early stages of this program. New performance indicators will be added in the future as the programs mature.

Proportion of projects involving research in national research priority areas

A key selection criterion for all funded programs is addressing national challenges. This criterion is given greater emphasis for the more substantial Research Projects grants (resulting in 100 per cent alignment with national research priority areas). Some latitude is applied in relation to the SIEF Promotion of Science programs, which primarily consists of smaller grants for scholarships and fellowships.

This program emphasises support of early career researchers in areas of Australian strength, such as astronomy.

Number of publications arising from SIEF-funded projects

Publications are a trailing indicator of progress. As SIEF-funded Research Projects generally have a three to five year lifespan and most have commenced relatively recently (many within the 2011–12 reporting period), this metric is expected to increase in future years as projects mature and outcomes are documented.

Proportion of projects involving more than one organisation

Collaboration is another key (but not mandatory) selection criterion for all funded projects. Ten of the 12 SIEF-funded Research Projects are collaborations, with later selection Rounds (Round 3) all having multiple partners involved. The number of partners for all Research Projects range between one and seven (average three). Strong collaboration can be seen in the scholarships and fellowships programs with 93 per cent of scholars/fellows having co- supervisors from more than one organisation.

Financial contributions of partners

Commitment to SIEF collaborations can be seen by cash and/or in-kind co-contributions by grant recipients. For all awarded Research Projects, the average co-contribution by collaborators is 58 per cent of total expenditure (approximately $11 million average total expenditure per Research Project). The average co-contribution towards consumables, travel expenses, access to facilities for scholarship and fellowship grants is 42 per cent, which is in addition to time commitments by supervisors.

  1. For all projects awarded as at 30 June 2012.


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