Response to Australian Research Council Review

The Albanese Government has agreed, or agreed in principle, to all 10 recommendations of the Review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001 (ARC Review). 

The independent review, led by Professor Margaret Sheil AO (panel chair), Professor Susan Dodds and Professor Mark Hutchinson, was the first comprehensive review of the ARC since its inception in 2001. 

The review was initiated to ensure the ARC can meet the current and future needs of Australia’s research sector and to strengthen its governance arrangements. 

In response to the review, the Government will improve the governance of the ARC, and strengthen the integrity of decision-making processes. 

The key recommendation is the establishment of an ARC Board. 

The Board will be responsible for the appointment of the CEO and the approval of grants within the National Competitive Grants Program. 

The Minister for Education will be responsible for: 

  • The appointment of the Board, in consultation with the Minister for Industry and Science,
  • For setting grant guidelines including key areas of national priority to be progressed through the ARC,
  • For setting expectations and key performance measures, and
  • The approval of nationally significant program investments such as Centres of Excellence. 

The Government’s response to the ARC Review can be found here

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare: 

“Australia is home to brilliant researchers and some of the most cutting-edge research in the world, and the Australian Research Council plays a key role in supporting, shaping and sustaining that research. 

“But the legislation that underpins the ARC is old and needs updating, and we need to strengthen its governance arrangements. 

“Over the last few years, the ARC has been bedevilled by political interference and Ministerial delays. 

“That has made it harder for universities to recruit and retain staff, and it has damaged our international reputation. 

“That’s not good for our universities. It’s not good for businesses either who work with our universities. 

“I promised last year to end that and that’s what we are doing. 

“These reforms will ensure the ARC is set up to meet current and future needs and maintain the trust and confidence of the research sector. 

“I thank Professor Sheil, Professor Dodds and Professor Hutchinson for their work in conducting the review, and all stakeholders who contributed.”