Education Minister Dan Tehan has announced his much-anticipated national interest test for research funding.
Applications for all future Australian Research Council funding rounds will have to include a 150-word max, plain English statement on the project’s “economic, commercial, environmental, social or cultural benefits” for the Australian community. This will replace the existing ARC “benefit and impact” requirement.
The new statement will be considered in the assessment process with the ARC chief executive advising the minister on content.
“This national interest test will give the minister of the day the confidence to look the Australian voter in the eye and say, ‘your money is being spent wisely’,” Mr Tehan says.
Last night Universities Australia’s Catriona Jackson responded, “”UA will also look carefully at further detail of the minister’s proposed national interest test to assess implications for Australia’s global research work and research more generally.”
However, Labor research shadow Kim Carr warned the “Tehan test,” means “researchers are no longer subject only to the scrutiny and judgment of their peers but also to that of politicians.”
“The independence and integrity of the ARC’s existing assessment procedures are maintained if politicians are kept at arm’s length from the process,” the senator said.