Cash case for humanities research

Just three recent Australian Research Council future fellowships went to classic humanities scholars (philosophy and literature) and back in May lobby leaders complained at the tiny fraction of research infrastructure funding that will be delivered to their disciplines, ( CMM August 6). It seems to some that the funding system is stacked against the humanities and that they need more money of their own.

University of Melbourne DVC R Jim McCluskey certainly thinks so, telling the recent Melbourne hearing of the parliamentary inquiry into  research administration that medical researchers can compete for more sources of research funds than those in the humanities.

“If you’re a medico like me you can go to the National Health and Medical Research Council—$850 million a year thereabouts—you can go to the Medical Research Future Fund and if you are clever enough you can frame the research grant as basic biological science, which it very often is and go to the Australian Research Council,” he said.

“That means it’s a very uneven playing field, and so the notion of having a little bit more funding for the humanities and social sciences I certainly would vote for. … the grand challenges we face as a nation cannot all be solved by technical solutions.”


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