Minister Clare ends era for the Australian Research Council

Education Minister Jason Clare wants a remake

He appoints a review to advise whether the council’s “role and purpose” remain relevant, it’s operating model is “fit for purpose” and consider how “it can meet current and future needs and maintain the trust of the research sector”

The review is led by Margaret Sheil (QUT vice chancellor and former ARC CEO), with Susan Dodds (La Trobe U) and Mark Hutchinson (Uni Adelaide and president of Science and Technology Australia)

and he cancels next year’s Excellence for Research in Australia

Two weeks after the Australian Research Council proposed to pilot a new ranking( CMM August 18)) the national review of research performance is off. “In light of the sector’s concerns about workload, I ask that you discontinue preparations for the 2023 ERA round and commence work to develop a transition plan, in consultation with the sector and my Department,” Mr Clare tells the Council.

While upping the pressure on research performance

The minister also wants “impact data to enhance the reporting on the impact value of grants funded so that more robust evaluations of ARC funded programmes and initiatives can be undertaken”

And that means identifying elite basic research

He calls for “mechanisms” to identify, “the highest quality university research in Australia, particularly basic research, beyond the current functions of grants reporting”

Plus  focusing on the government’s applied research priorities

Mr Clare wants to “drive more focused and scaled investment in key national challenges. It is important that the Linkage Programme delivers impact with industry and aims to take research further along the translation pathway.”

Linkage Grants (40 per cent of ARC funding) will be focused on priorities in the Government’s National Reconstruction Fund rather than the previous government’s national manufacturing priorities.

Oh, and could the ARC stop messing people about

“It is my view that the National Interest Test (in research applications) should continue, but should be clearer, simpler and easily understood,” Mr Clare states.

“I also ask that the ARC advise me of any regulatory or legislative changes required to ensure grant rounds are delivered on time and to a transparent, predetermined timeframe.”