“Australia boasts a world-class research system – it is in the best interest of Australia and Australians that we keep it that way,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“This is the next step in ensuring we have a research council with strong governance, robust peer review and genuine transparency at its core.
“These functions underpin the critical work of our researchers and will help take Australia’s research to new levels – generating even greater social and economic gains for our nation.
“Our world-class universities have a big role to play. University researchers perform almost all of Australia’s pure research and a big slice of applied research.
“Every day, they are hard at work tackling the great challenges and embracing the new opportunities of our time – from the energy transition and geopolitical disruption to food insecurity and pandemics.
“Universities look forward to engaging with the review panel to achieve the best outcomes for our researchers because we know that when they are at their best, Australia is at its best.”
Universities Australia’s members committed earlier this year to a set of nine principles that will underpin the ARC as Australia’s premier independent agency for funding for non-medical research. They include:
- Government policies, legislation and funding ensure ARC programs and processes compare favourably with leading research countries.
- The ARC is supported with adequate, long-term, indexed funding.
- ARC programs respect, value and support both fundamental and applied research.
- ARC programs respect, value and fund research across all disciplines.
- ARC funding decisions are made based on research excellence and strike a balance between fundamental research – where big ideas are generated – and both applied and translational research with potential for commercialisation.
- Ministerial decision-making respects the integrity of recommendations made by the ARC and the College of Experts, and the Ministerial veto power is removed.
- If the Ministerial veto is retained and subsequently exercised, a transparent process by which decisions are made and reported to both Parliament and the research community should be enshrined in the ARC Act.
- ARC programs are administered at a world-class level, including having experienced academics on the permanent staff of the ARC.
- The ARC has predictable timelines that respect the academic cycle and provides the certainty needed to develop partnership arrangements.