The Albanese Government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s research system by accepting the recommendations from the Australian Research Council (ARC) Review is essential to the nation’s long-term interests.
“Implementation of these recommendations will improve the governance of the ARC, strengthen the integrity of decision-making processes and minimise political interference, which has impacted the capacity of our universities to attract and retain world leading researchers” said Group of Eight Chief Executive Vicki Thomson.
Depoliticising ARC funding through an independent ARC Board – but maintaining national security oversight of grants through parliament, modernising the ARC Act, and removing Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) to be replaced by fit for purpose research assessment, were all recommended by the Go8.
“With these long overdue governance reforms in place for the ARC we now need to address the structural issues around how research is supported to drive Australia towards a national target of 3 per cent of GDP invested in research,” Ms Thomson said.
“These challenges include relatively low success rates for ARC grants programs – with many excellent research projects left on the shelf due to lack of funding, and the needs for universities to match ARC funding at least dollar for dollar from other revenue sources to ensure the national research program of the ARC can be realised.
“Both the Universities Accord interim report and the Business Council of Australia have raised increasing support for the ARC – particularly to support basic research. This is something that must be considered as we seek to work with industry to increase the adoption of university research by business, and to help business to develop its own research capacity and capability.”
The Group of Eight is the major stakeholder in the ARC funding programs receiving nearly 70 per cent of all funding allocations. As the university group that undertakes 70 per cent of the nation’s university research, the Go8 will continue to work with the government and the ARC on the details of the implementation of recommendations.