Science Deans intervene in grants cancelled controversy

The Australian Council of Deans of Science backs calls for legislation to protect the independence of the Australian Research Council and prevent a minister deciding the fate of research proposals, independent of peer review

“The National Interest Test, through which the minister intervenes, focuses on short term goals and public perception. Whilst valuable, … it should not be the basis on which grants are rejected,” Executive Director John Rice states in a letter to Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert and outgoing ARC Chair, Sue Thomas.

On Christmas Eve Mr Robert vetoed funding for six HASS projects recommended for Discovery Grant funding by the ARC.

On Wednesday around 140 members of the ARC College of Experts called for legislation to safeguard “the safety the independence and legitimacy” of ARC decisions and Labor education shadow Tania Plibersek pledged to “never reject a grant on political grounds,” (CMM yesterday).