Vice Chancellors unite to condemn Birmingham research veto

Universities have combined to condemn former education minister Simon Birmingham’s veto of 11 Australian Research Council recommended grants (CMM Monday and yesterday). “A ministerial veto decision in the research grants system erodes global confidence in Australia’s research program and our reputation for research excellence. … Such a veto also undermines academic freedom, by opening the door to any minister deciding they don’t like a research topic – irrespective of its merits – that could transform knowledge in a field,” Universities Australia stated after yesterday’s meeting of vice chancellors.

The VCs chose to focus on the minister, not pursuing La Trobe U VC John Dewar’s complaint that “the minister’s actions were concealed, both by the minister himself and by the ARC,” (CMM Monday). “ARC staff have also been placed in the invidious position of having to give feedback to applicants whose projects were recommended for funding but then vetoed – without a public explanation from the minister,” UA stated.


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