Excellence in Innovation for Australia (EIA) Trial

3 Feb 2014

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) and the Group of Eight (Go8) undertook a joint trial exercise, the Excellence in Innovation for Australia (EIA) Trial, in 2012 to assess the impact of research produced by the Australian university sector.

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) and Group of Eight (Go8) universities, along with the University of Newcastle, Charles Darwin University and the University of Tasmania participated in the Trial, which sought to identify and demonstrate the contribution that high quality research has made to the economic, social, cultural and environmental benefit of society. Implicit in this goal was the purpose to investigate the means by which these benefits may best be recognised, portrayed and assessed by institutions and government.

Final report: 'Excellence in Innovation: Research Impacting our Nation's Future- assessing the benefits'

List of participating institutions

Curtin University    


University of South Australia    


RMIT University    


University of Technology Sydney    


Queensland University of Technology    


The University of Queensland    


The University of Melbourne    


The University of Western Australia    


The University of New South Wales    


The University of Newcastle    


Charles Darwin University    


The University of Tasmania    


Participation in the Trial was based partly on a growing international realisation of the need for universities to demonstrate the benefit, or impact of their research – to government, to funders and to the broader society. This is particularly true in the UK where their research assessment mechanism, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) has explicitly included assessment of research impact for their next assessment exercise in 2014. In Australia, the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) is currently undertaking a feasibility study into ways of assessing research impact.

In the Trial each university was asked to provide case studies of research impact aligned to four broad SEO Sectors:

  • Sector A - Defence
  • Sector B – Economic Development
  • Sector C – Society
  • Sector D – Environment  

Each case study included details of the claimed impact, the underpinning research that led to the impact, references to publications arising from the underpinning research, research data and a list of sources that could be accessed to corroborate the impact. The emphasis for case studies was to provide supporting information for the claimed impact that is capable of being verified if required, rather than providing verified information as part of the submission.

Each of the 12 participating institutions was invited to submit a maximum of five case studies for each of the four SEO Sectors (ie a maximum of 20 case studies per institution).

Guidelines governing the submission of case studies is available to view HERE.

The template for submissions is available HERE.

ATN-Go8 Symposium Excellence in Innovation: Measuring the innovation dividend

The ATN and Go8 jointly hosted the ATN-Go8 Symposium Excellence in Innovation: Measuring the innovation dividend. Held on 4 November 2011, the Symposium brought together a broad range of stakeholders in the Australian R&D sector to explore mechanisms for measuring the social and economic benefits (“impact”) of research. It explored how to draw together the individual experiences of stakeholder groups in the research sector into an overarching approach to measuring the innovation dividend across the spectrum of research activities. The outcomes of the Symposium informed the design and implementation of the trial. 

ATN-Go8 Excellence in Innovation for Australia: Research Impact and the National Agenda

The ATN and Go8 jointly hosted a second symposium Excellence in Innovation for Australia: Research Impact and the National Agenda in Canberra on 28 November 2012.The symposium marked the release of the report on the outcomes of the EIA trial.