Purpose

The purpose of this statement is to articulate the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) contribution to a strong Australian research workforce.

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Context

The ARC provides advice to the Australian Government on research matters, manages the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), and Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

The NCGP comprises two Programs–Discovery and Linkage–under which the ARC funds a range of complementary schemes to support researchers at different stages of their careers, build Australia’s research capability, expand and enhance research networks and collaborations, and develop centres of research excellence.

The ARC corporate plan commits the ARC to supporting and facilitating research training and career opportunities for excellent Australian and international researchers (the Discovery Program) including through the provision of opportunities that enable researchers to gain experience working in industry settings (the Linkage Program).

The ARC’s support for the research workforce is one element of a broader framework. There is significant interest in planning for Australia’s future research workforce, with the main driver being to inform capacity building to ensure Australia’s ongoing competitiveness. Significant stakeholders in this area are government (both federal and state), the higher education sector and the Learned Academies.

The global dimension of the research workforce is also well accepted with governments worldwide adopting a common focus on attracting and retaining researchers, participating in global initiatives and encouraging their researchers to collaborate with other researchers around the world.

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ARC Support

ARC funding schemes provide support for the research workforce including:

  • research higher degree candidates
  • early-career researchers
  • mid-career researchers
  • experienced researchers or research leaders
  • research support staff.

In particular, the ARC actively seeks to support:

  • women researchers
  • researchers returning after a career break or with non-traditional research careers
  • Indigenous researchers.

ARC support is delivered by funding directly or indirectly:

  • higher education organisations
  • government organisations
  • business organisations
  • private non-profit organisations
  • researchers based overseas.

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Principles

The ARC will contribute to the establishment of a sustainable research workforce:

Excellence:     
by funding the highest-quality research and researchers in all disciplines through a competitive peer review process. 

Participation:  
by supporting participation by researchers in the research workforce at all career stages and from under-represented groups. The ARC:

  • supports eligible researchers at different career stages through fellowship and award schemes
  • supports the development of the research expertise of Indigenous Australian researchers
  • implements eligibility and selection criteria that do not disadvantage researchers at particular career stages or in under-represented groups
  • provides fair access to ARC funding for all eligible researchers and promotes diversity and equity principles.

Flexibility:        
by providing a framework which gives researchers flexibility in shaping their careers. The ARC:

  • utilises assessment processes and grant conditions that support the accommodation of both career and family responsibilities
  • facilitates opportunities for researchers to pursue diverse career pathways, for example, including teaching and placements in industry/end-user organisations
  • provides eligibility and assessment processes and grant conditions which encourage university researchers to work with end-user organisations and support movement between sectors
  • utilises funding mechanisms which offer a range of support (individual salaries through fellowships and awards; costs of research projects; access to infrastructure; and establishment of centres, networks and hubs).

Capacity:         
by providing support mechanisms to attract and retain the highest quality researchers. The ARC:

  • facilitates the conduct of research and research training in high quality and supportive research environments
  • encourages mentorship of early career researchers
  • fosters domestic and international collaboration
  • facilitates access to infrastructure.

Evaluation:      
by monitoring the outcomes of ARC mechanisms for strengthening the Australian research workforce and committing to a process of continuous improvement.

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Further information

Further supporting documentation can be found at www.arc.gov.au and includes the ARC Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence statement, funding rules for the schemes of the National Competitive Grants Programme and international support information.

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Printable versions of ARC Research Workforce statement  – PDF Format  (471KB)