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About ERA

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) is a research quality evaluation program for Australian universities. It was introduced by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council.

Macquarie University and ERA 2012

Macquarie University had an outstanding level of success in ERA 2012. Our research performance was rated as outstanding and well above world standard in Earth, environmental, and physical sciences.

Macquarie was the only New South Wales university to receive a rating of 5 out of 5 for research in physical sciences.

Additionally, Macquarie was one of only two institutions in Australia to receive a 5 out of 5 rating in the above three science disciplines.

In total, 85 per cent of Macquarie's research activity was rated as performing at world standard or higher.

ERA 2012 timeline

2005 – 2010Evaluation of the quality of research publications across all areas of research from all Australian universities
January 2013ERA 2012 results announced

Evaluating clusters, disciplines and sub-disciplines

The ERA evaluation is designed to assess the research quality of all 41 Australian universities. The evaluation uses a series of metrics, peer review and expert review. To do this, research topics were categorised into eight broad clusters, made up of 24 disciplines and several sub disciplines.

Eight national research clusters

  1. Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences
  2. Humanities and Creative Arts
  3. Engineering and Environmental Sciences
  4. Education and Human Society
  5. Economics and Commerce
  6. Mathematical, Information and Computing Sciences
  7. Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
  8. Medical and Health Sciences

For a given discipline, for example, Earth sciences, publication quality in individual sub-discipline areas, for example geochemistry, was also evaluated.

Evaluation of data submitted for ERA 2012 was undertaken by eight Cluster Advisory Groups representative of the eight distinct discipline cluster groups. Cluster Advisory Groups were comprised of 65 individual distinguished and internationally recognised researchers with expertise in research evaluation, both from Australia and overseas.

The five point scale

The quality of publications for each discipline and sub-discipline was evaluated on a 5-point scale:
5 – Outstanding performance well above world standard
4 – Performance above world standard
3 – Average performance at world standard
2 – Performance below world standard
1 – Performance well below world standard

Australian research on an international scale

At the national level:

  • 13 per cent of research units evaluated at the discipline level were rated well above world standard (5-rated)
  • 18 per cent of research units evaluated at sub-discipline level were rated well above world standard (5-rated)

Overall, 78 per cent of Australian research units evaluated were rated at world standard or above.