ATSE welcomes moves to strengthen Australian research

24 August 2023

scientist microscope

ATSE welcomes the decision by the Australian Government to accept the recommendations from the Australian Research Council (ARC) Review. 

A stronger Australian research funding architecture, support for Australia’s world-leading research, and certainty for the research sector are all supported by the review recommendations made by the expert ARC review panel, led by ATSE Fellow Professor Margaret Sheil AO FTSE.  

ATSE commends the Government’s commitment to remove the Ministerial veto, except for in the case of national security concerns. As recommended by ATSE’s submission, this is critical to promote public and sectoral trust in the research funding system. 

The legislative and governance changes agreed to by the Government will help to ensure decisions are made on scientific merit and reduce unnecessary delays in annual competitive grant allocations. 

A two-step grant approvals process, recommended by the review in line with ATSE’s submission, will help reduce the time and money wasted each year on preparing and assessing grant applications, helping to deliver more for every dollar spent on research.  

While these changes are welcomed, ATSE continues to call for a wider review of research and development funding in Australia to bring Australia’s R&D investment up to 3%, in line with our global competitors. 

Australia currently spends 1.8% of GDP on R&D, well below the OECD average of 2.67% and research leaders like the United States, Japan and Germany, who all spend over 3% of GDP on R&D. If Australia is to remain an international research powerhouse, we need to revamp our R&D funding across the whole system.