Australia's scientists welcome review of ARC Act

April 20, 2023

The Australian Academy of Science welcomes the release of the Australian Government’s Trusting Australia’s Ability: Review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001.

Academy President Professor Chennupati Jagadish said the underlying theme of the review is that of trust with a strong emphasis on the critical role of the ARC in Australia’s research system.

“The role of the ARC, its leadership and the execution of its functions should reflect our aspirations for the research landscape, for research excellence and how they can best support our national ambitions,” Professor Jagadish said.

“The recommendations in the review provide a strong basis to support this purpose and the ongoing effectiveness of the ARC.

“The Academy welcomes the recommendation that the commitment to funding basic research should be incorporated into the ARC’s purpose under the Act.

“The Academy views this as important to safeguard fundamental research that grows our knowledge base.”

The Academy also endorses several other noteworthy recommendations to:

  • restore the ARC Board and populate it with members with the right combination of skills and experience
  • discontinue Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) and modernise ARC capacity and requirements for data collection and analysis
  • streamline National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) guidelines to reflect international best practice and reduce the administrative burden on academic and research organisations.

Professor Jagadish said the focus of ministerial discretion on the NCGP guidelines and funding available, rather than on individual grants, would place the recommendations and approvals in the hands of the people with the expertise to assess their merit.

“It is positive to see the recommendations to advance Indigenous Australians in research and recognition of the impact of the ARC on attracting and retaining research talent,” Professor Jagadish said.

“The recommendations in the review are so important and sensible that the Academy looks forward to their implementation as soon as practicable.”

The Academy thanks the review panel for its expert contribution and guidance.

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science