Parliament’s backing of ARC Bill a win for Australia’s research sector

March 22, 2024

Parliamentarians have backed a more robust and research-oriented system for the nation by passing reforms to the Australian Research Council (ARC) this week.

President of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Chennupati Jagadish, said that limiting the use of the ministerial veto is a particularly significant reform supported by Australia’s scientists.

“It will ensure that properly assessed, high-quality research proposals proceed without an ideologically imposed filter, a change advocated by the Academy since at least 2018,” Professor Jagadish said.

“When the integrity of Australia’s research system is compromised by perceived or actual political interference, there are real costs for the research sector and the nation. It erodes trust and damages researchers’ relationships with industry, the Australian community and international partners.

“Establishing a board as the ARC’s accountable authority will strengthen and modernise the organisation’s governance. The Academy is of the view that appointees to this board must have extensive experience in the science and research system.”

The passage allows for reforms recommended to the government by a review chaired by Academy Fellow and Council member Professor Margaret Shiel to come into operation on 1 July.

Professor Jagadish said the Academy looks forward to working with the ARC and the broader science community on this journey to reform and modernise this part of the science system.

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science