The case for researching research

Professor Adrian Barnett (QUT), appearing in a private capacity at the Brisbane hearing of the parliamentary committee inquiring into research administration made his point plainly “I’m not aware of any major review of funding in Australia or any major funding policy change in the last 10 years that has been based on scientific evidence. Instead they use expert opinion. That is ironic for science, and I think it is potentially harmful as well. Expert opinion is not always right, and the data sometimes give us surprising results”.

The committee also heard from two former heads of the Australian Research Council, Margaret Sheil (VC, QUT) and Peter Hoj (VC, UoQ) presumably for their, expert opinions.

The hearing transcript, just out, is an entertaining read (yes CMM knows he needs to get out more). The MPs were across the subject and engaged with the issues. No, the final report will not generate more money (not least because that is not the brief) but will contribute in ways as yet unknown, to the way the system works, much like basic research.


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