This section describes the three key activities the ARC will pursue in achieving its purpose, including intended outcomes, strategies and performance measures. The performance information outlined in this section accords with the performance criteria outlined in the 2016–17 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) and will be reported on in the 2016–17 Annual Report.

Our framework

The ARC’s performance measurement framework is consistent with the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and the Enhanced Commonwealth Performance Framework.

The framework ensures there is a clear line of sight between the performance criteria published in the ARC’s PBS and the performance information presented in the associated corporate plan and annual performance statement (within the annual report). Together, these three documents aim to provide the ARC’s complete performance story.

In addition to the ARC’s published performance information, the ARC’s performance measurement framework is supported by internal planning, monitoring and reporting processes.

Figure 2: ARC’s published performance informationFigure 2: ARC's published performance information


Level one
Orange: ARC Act, relevant legislation and government policies.
Blue: Portfolio Budget Statements and Corporate Plan.
Green: Annual Performance Statement.
Level two
Orange: What is intended.
Blue: What will be measured and what resources have been allocated.
Green: What was achieved.


Key activity 1: Administering research funding schemes

Intended outcome

The ARC aims to build Australia’s research capacity by supporting excellent, internationally competitive research projects, fellowships and awards (the Discovery Programme) and excellent, internationally competitive research projects, infrastructure, hubs and centres that involve collaboration among researchers within and beyond the research sector (the Linkage Programme).

The Discovery and Linkage Programmes together:

  • support the highest-quality basic and applied research
  • provide training and career opportunities for current and emerging researchers
  • foster industry and other end-user engagement
  • support international collaboration
  • encourage research that will strengthen Australia’s capacity to respond to emerging priorities.

Delivery strategies

  • Maintain a suite of funding schemes that support the varying needs of the research sector, across basic and applied, HASS and STEM and interdisciplinary research areas.
  • Ensure that ARC funding schemes continue to support a sustainable and diverse research workforce by supporting the participation of early- and mid-career researchers, women and Indigenous Australians.
  • Ensure that ARC funding schemes continue to build the scale of Australian research, including support for the 2017 ARC Centres of Excellence.
  • Encourage national and international research partnerships between universities and business, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies.
  • Maintain funding mechanisms that enable the ARC to respond quickly to emerging research areas and government priorities, including implementing a continuous application and assessment process under the Linkage Projects scheme.
  • Raise the international visibility of the ARC’s funding schemes to encourage participation by international organisations and world‑class researchers.
  • Maintain best practice peer review processes.

Performance measures

Performance criterion: ARC research funding schemes contribute to the growth of knowledge and innovation in Australia by funding excellent, internationally competitive research projects, fellowships, awards, infrastructure, hubs and centres.1

Key performance indicators

Target (2016–17 and beyond)

ARC-funded research is relevant to Australia’s needs and expectations.

Maintain or increase the proportion of ARC-funded research that addresses an area of research priority.

ARC-funded research builds Australia’s research capacity and ability to respond to emerging priorities.

Maintain or increase the proportion of ARC-funded research that supports research training and early-career researchers.

ARC-funded research encourages collaboration among researchers within and beyond the research sector.

Maintain or improve stakeholder satisfaction with the research partnerships supported through ARC-funded research.

Maintain or increase the extent ARC-funded research involves collaboration with partner organisations, including industry or other end-users. (Linkage only).

ARC-funded research enhances international engagement.

Maintain or increase the proportion of ARC-funded research that supports international collaboration.

ARC-funded research produces outcomes that improve our understanding of the world and/or provide economic, environmental, social, health and/or cultural benefits to Australia.

Examples of benefits arising from ARC-funded research.

Note 1: Relevant programmes in the PBS: Programme 1.1: Discovery—Research and Research Training and Programme 1.2: Linkage—Cross Sector Research Partnerships.


Key activity 2: Administering research evaluation frameworks

Intended outcome

The ARC aims to improve the quality of Australia’s research by delivering evaluation reports that benchmark research conducted at eligible Australian higher education institutions against international research. ERA is an established research quality assessment framework that identifies excellence across the full spectrum of research activities. The new engagement and impact assessment framework will show the extent to which universities are translating research into economic, social, environmental and other impacts.

Together the frameworks:

  • provide a unique, evidence-based resource to inform Australian government research policy and the strategic direction of higher education institutions
  • encourage researchers to produce high-quality and impactful research with real world benefits.

Delivery strategies

  • Develop an evaluation framework to assess engagement and impact of research conducted at Australia’s higher education institutions.
  • Continue to administer an evaluation framework to measure and report on the quality of research conducted at Australia’s higher education institutions, including distributing analysis from previous ERA rounds results through additional volumes of the State of Australian University Research.
  • Be seen as a world leader in research evaluation and monitor international developments.
  • Contribute expertise and data to policy discussion on the evaluation of research.

Performance measures

Performance criterion: ARC research evaluation frameworks contribute to the growth of knowledge and innovation in Australia1.

Key performance indicators

Target (2016–17 and beyond)

ERA provides assurance of the quality of research in Australia.

ERA reports and activities inform Australian Government policy.

ERA encourages excellent, internationally competitive research.


ERA reports and activities inform strategic planning at eligible Australian higher education institutions.

Research performance of Australian higher education institutions improves.

The engagement and impact assessment encourages impactful engagement within and beyond the research sector.

Research engagement and impact (within and beyond the research sector) is benchmarked and improves.2

Note 1: Relevant programme in the PBS: Programme 1.3: Excellence in Research for Australia
Note 2: The ARC will commence reporting on this performance measure in 2017–18.


Key activity 3: Providing advice on research matters

Intended outcome

The ARC aims to support research and innovation by providing advice on research matters that is evidence‑based and strategically responds to issues and challenges relevant to the research sector.

ARC policy advice:

  • contributes to Australian Government research and innovation policy development
  • promotes the value of publicly funded research
  • supports responsible research practices.

Delivery strategies

  • Continue to review research-related policies and consult with stakeholders regarding potential changes.
  • Continue to work with the National Health and Medical Research Council and Universities Australia to revise the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • Participate in policy development across portfolios, including access to research outcomes.
  • Increase the efficiency, comprehensiveness and timeliness of data gathering and reporting.
  • Continue to monitor emerging issues relevant to the research sector.
  • Monitor, incorporate and contribute to international developments in research.

Performance measures

Performance criterion: ARC policy advice contributes to the growth of knowledge and innovation in Australia.

Key performance indicators

Target (2016–17 and beyond)

ARC policy advice contributes and responds to Australian Government policy development.

ARC policy reflects government priorities and initiatives.

ARC policy advice supports best practice research.

ARC policies support the NCGP, particularly industry engagement and research workforce.

ARC policy advice engages researchers, including international organisations and researchers.

ARC policies reflect national and international research policy developments.