Can any individual understand whether every research meets the nation’s interest? ARC chair Sue Thomas is on to it.
In November Education Minister Dan Tehan announced a national interest test, with the Australian Research Council chair required to give projects a tick before a minister signs the cheque. How that will work puzzles universities and Labor research shadow Kim Carr thinks the idea is ridiculous, as he explained to Professor Thomas in Senate estimates last month (CMM, February 25).
However Professor Thomas says she, and ARC staff have been out explaining to DVC Rs and research offices how it will work. “It is my role to consider the recommendations from the selection advisory committee, following the peer review process and the applicant’s response to the NIT. I will be looking at whether the statement is easy to understand and seems reasonable, that is, the claims are logical and specific to the research project being proposed. I will be seeking information from administering organisations on applications where I have concern about how they meet the NIT based on the information provided in the application form.”