ARC Review essential to Australia’s national interest

The Australian Government’s commitment to review the role and function of the Australian Research Council (ARC) is timely and essential to the nation’s long-term interests.

“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 work collaboratively with the Government and ARC to ensure it is fit for purpose. ” said Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson.

While the Go8 commitment to delivering quality research has not changed in the over 20 years since the ARC Act was established, the research landscape has.

“The ARC should be underpinned by modern legislation that ensures that it is fit for purpose and has the governance structures in place to provide expert advice and oversight to the ARC CEO and the Minister.

“There must be an explicit recognition of the role and responsibility of the ARC as the primary funder of non-medical basic research in Australia. As noted by Education Minister Jason Clare in his speech to the AFR Higher Education Summit, inventions such as Wi-Fi and the understanding and use of mRNA technology were the result of basic research without these end goals in mind”.

Therefore, the Go8 welcomes the Minister’s commitment to basic research, and the reframing of the National Interest Test to include excellent research that does not have a clearly defined application or short-term outcome.

“It is also timely to reassess the structure, functions and strategic objectives of Excellence in Research in Australia (ERA), and develop a modern data driven approach, informed by peer review.

“The Go8 is committed to delivering world class research which is in the national interest. Australia’s future prosperity will hinge on the capacity of our world-class researchers to undertake cutting edge research to meet our national priorities and support our economy and society. It is imperative that the funding of this research reflect world’s best practice,” said Ms Thomson.

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