The announcement of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding for 2019 by Minister for Education, Dan Tehan MP, has been welcomed by the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors.
Science & Technology Australia contacted the Minister this week to call for an end to the funding delay, which was threatening the ability for researchers to adequately prepare for their projects starting in January.
President of Science & Technology Australia, Professor Emma Johnston AO, said the delays experienced by researchers had been difficult for many, both professionally and personally.
“There is some inspiring research that will now go ahead thanks to this important funding provided by the ARC,” Professor Johnston said.
“In recognition of government support, the science and technology sectors work hard to provide solid returns on investment in the form of better health outcomes, a healthier environment, a more prosperous economy, and enhancements to national and cyber security.”
The announcement also coincided with more details around a new national interest test.
“We are relieved to see that the new national interest test is designed to minimise further burden to researchers, as it replaces the ‘benefit and application’ text component of the application,” Professor Johnston said.
“However, we are concerned that the changes do not capture the value of basic research – the research that is driven by curiosity and fuels some of the most significant technological advances of our time.
“Moreover, we urge the Minister to support the principle of independent peer-review as the world’s best practice in deciding grant funding for the benefit of all Australians”
Professor Johnston was relieved to note that three projects that were knocked back in last year’s ARC funding round have now been re-funded.
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