Ways through the research policy weeds

The Group of Eight’s submission to the Sheil Review of the Australian Research Council calls (among a bunch of other things) for,

* The ARC Act to “explicitly articulate” it’s role in “supporting basic research” specifically, “provide for the funding of research programmes that support pure basic research, strategic basic research and applied research. Plus provide an “explicit commitment” to basic research by legislating the funding balance between it and applied research

* as a minimum, a legislated requirement on ministerial use of a veto on research grants

* individual projects funded following evaluation by experts, “and not directly by a government department or minister”

* an end to Excellence for Research in Australia, “it provides a rating of excellence without reporting the volume of research being undertaken at that excellence rating.” Research capability mapping and quality assessment “sit more properly” with the Universities Accord, now underway.

* “a greater variety of expertise” in the ARC to cover important and emerging fields.

Science and Technology Australia has 33 recommendations, including

* enshrining basic research, with a mandated 60 per cent of funding for the Discovery programme

* Discovery grants to cover all costs, with five years standard

* “enshrine the importance of expert peer review in legislation”

* reviewers serve for up to four years and are “compensated fairly”

* comms training so grant recipients can “deepen the impact and visibility of ARC-funded research”

* success parity between men and women extends “to more granular discipline levels”

* ARC to report “additional diversity measures for fellows and chief investigators,” including, “ethnicity,” “geography and regionality” and career interruptions

* ARC to create “a significantly less burdensome research excellence process