The Review of the Australian Research Council Act released today is a “comprehensive, thoughtful blueprint for modernisation” of the key grants funding agency, the peak body for science and technology has said.
Its recommendations include putting in place tighter guardrails to prevent future political interference in awarding grants, safeguarding discovery research funding, a transformative shift to a two-stage application process, and deeper engagement with Indigenous researchers and communities.
Science & Technology Australia – which represents more than 115,000 scientists and technologists nationwide – commended the review panel on legislative and regulatory recommendations to strengthen ARC operations and independence.
“The ARC plays a crucial role in supporting Australia’s economy-boosting research sector. We’re delighted to see the expert panel have listened to the challenges faced by the sector and responded thoughtfully and cleverly,” said Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert.
“The proposed changes would create stronger guardrails to prevent future political interference in the awarding of grants, safeguard the crucial investment in discovery breakthroughs, and profoundly relieve one of the major stresses on Australia’s research workforce.”
“Shifting to a two-stage application would be a gamechanger for productivity, wellbeing and morale in Australia’s brilliant research workforce, which is why STA has championed this shift for several years.”
“It can free up researchers who currently spend hundreds of hours writing full funding applications – when around only one in five of those applications gets funded.”
“We also welcome the recommendations to create stronger guardrails against political interference in awarding research grants, and to safeguard Australia’s investments in discovery breakthroughs.”
Media contact: Martyn Pearce, STA: 0432 606 828