“Australia has a strong track record of delivering world-leading research breakthroughs that underpin our standard of living,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“In a fast-changing strategic and economic environment, it’s essential that we continue to drive advancements that benefit all Australians. This is what a world-class research system enables.
“Universities advocated strongly for the 10 recommendations put to government by the expert panel, led by Professor Margaret Sheil with Professors Susan Dodds and Mark Hutchinson.
“We are pleased the panel’s recommendations have been accepted by the Albanese Government and thank Minister Clare for his ongoing engagement with universities.
“The recommendations support strong governance, peer review and genuine transparency. These functions are vital to the smooth and effective running of the Australian Research Council.
“The establishment of an ARC Board is a key step to improving the governance of the ARC and strengthening the integrity of decision-making processes, which we strongly welcome.
“We are also pleased to see changes that limit ministerial veto power for use only when national security is concerned. Previous interference and delay have not served us well in this regard.
“Australia needs a research system that supports our national interest and the work undertaken in our universities goes to the heart of this.
“The reforms agreed to by government will ensure the ARC can continue to support and drive these essential national endeavours.
“We look forward to working closely with government on the implementation of these measures to underpin the success of our research system in the coming decades.
“We will also continue to advocate strongly for greater investment in Australian university research.
“Lifting Australia’s overall spend on research and development to three per cent of GDP is an essential ambition and, alongside these reforms, will further strengthen our research system.
“Concerningly, government spending on R&D, as a percentage of GDP, has never been lower. This will continue to affect Australia’s productivity problem and overall economic performance.
“If we could lift investment in higher education research and development by just one per cent, we could raise productivity and increase the size of Australia’s economy by $24 billion over 10 years.”
Read our full submission to the review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001.