Excellence in research Australia 2018

What is ERA?

Excellence in research

researcher in lab look at camera

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) is a research quality evaluation program for Australian universities, introduced by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council. The results of the third ERA evaluation were announced in December 2018.

ERA 2018 evaluated research quality as represented by research outputs from all disciplines and from all Australian universities, over the period 2008–2013. Twenty-one discipline areas were grouped into eight clusters; cluster panels undertook evaluation of research outputs using either citation rates compared to benchmarks (for most of the physical, life and medical sciences) or peer review (covering humanities and creative arts, as well as social, behavioural and economic sciences). For a given discipline (eg physical sciences) the quality of publications in individual sub-discipline areas (eg quantum physics) were also evaluated.


The quality of publications for each discipline and sub-discipline – and for each university undertaking research in those areas – were evaluated on a five-point scale:

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  • 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

At the national level, 15 per cent of research units evaluated at the discipline level, and 31 per cent of research units evaluated at sub-discipline level, were rated 5. Overall, 88 per cent of research units evaluated at sub-discipline level were rated at world standard or above.

Five future-shaping research priorities

Our future-shaping research priorities have been identified as cross-disciplinary areas in which we either have, or wish to build, research capacity. These are:

  1. Healthy people: pioneering health, integrated healthcare and lifelong learning for wellness in our ageing world.
  2. Resilient societies: understanding cultures in our changing world and building ethical, just and inclusive communities.
  3. Prosperous economies: strengthening economic productivity to promote prosperity in our diverse world.
  4. Secure planet: sustaining our interdependent world and exploring our place in the universe.
  5. Innovative technologies: advancing our interconnected world with frontier technologies, systems, designs and creative practice.

The broad and inclusive future-shaping research priorities offer scope for faculties and individual researchers to continue to pursue their own research interests, but in the context of opportunities to contribute to areas aligned with the national research agenda and global challenges of significance.

The University’s commitment to these research priorities is a commitment to impact, to making a difference and to measuring that effect.

World-leading research

Macquarie University’s research areas assessed as being at, above, or well above world standard:

  • Economics and commerce

    • Applied economics
    • Banking, finance and investment
    • Business and management
  • Education and human society

    • Anthropology
    • Education systems
    • Human geography
    • Political science
    • Sociology
    • Specialist studies in education
  • Humanities and creative arts

    • Applied ethics
    • Archaeology
    • Communication and media studies
    • Cultural studies
    • Film, television and digital media
    • Historical studies
    • Language studies
    • Law
    • Linguistics
    • Literary studies
    • Performing arts and creative writing
    • Philosophy
    • Urban and regional planning
  • Physical, chemical and earth sciences

    • Analytical chemistry
    • Astronomical and space sciences
    • Atmospheric sciences
    • Geochemistry
    • Geology
    • Geophysics
    • Optical physics
    • Physical geography and environmental geoscience
    • Quantum physics
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