Message from the CEO

Aidan Byrne

CEO Professor Aidan Byrne
Image: Professor Aidan Byrne.
Image courtesy: Norman Plant Photography.

 

It is with mixed feelings that I will soon depart the Australian Research Council (ARC), knowing it is embarking on exciting new initiatives with the Linkage Projects scheme now open for proposals on a continuous basis; and the new Engagement and Impact Assessment taking shape—two important measures announced under the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) in December 2015.

On 1 July 2016, I was pleased to be able to open the Linkage Projects scheme to continuous applications and to see applicants already working on new proposals. I understand researchers and research office staff have been considering the best time to submit proposals. Under the existing set of funding rules, proposals can be submitted until late December this year, and I encourage you to submit when you and your partner organisations are ready. Some universities have published internal schedules to facilitate their own processes, but the time you choose to apply does not affect the way your proposal will be assessed.

While there will be some necessary changes for the ARC, researchers and administering organisation research offices—under the continuous scheme—the assessment process is essentially unchanged. The continuous model will, however, enable the ARC to expedite decision processes to provide greater responsiveness for researchers and industry. More information about the assessment processes that will support the continuous Linkage Projects scheme is provided in this newsletter.

The views and experiences of our stakeholders are highly valued by the ARC. No more so than when the Australian Government asked the ARC and the Department of Education and Training to jointly develop a new national research impact and engagement assessment as part of NISA. The aim of the assessment is to examine how universities are translating their research into economic, social and other benefits and to incentivise greater collaboration between universities, industry and other end-users of research.

The exact measures for the Engagement and Impact Assessment are being determined through extensive consultation with the higher education and research sector, industry and other end-users of research. The ARC has established an Engagement and Impact Steering Committee supported by the Engagement and Impact Technical Working Group and the Performance and Incentives Working Group, each comprising experts from across the sector, including international experts. The groups will consider feedback provided by stakeholders to the recent Engagement and Impact Consultation PaperMore information about progress in the development of the Engagement and Impact Assessment is provided in this newsletter.

I would like to thank the individuals and organisations that have contributed their input to the development of both measures. Consultation is integral to developing, and ensuring the smooth implementation, of each. I know the ARC will continue to work closely with stakeholders as they are developed further.

So I am leaving the ARC, proud that our research community has such an innovative agency working hard on its behalf to advance Australian research and innovation globally, and benefit the community. I have every confidence that the ARC will successfully deliver these two important NISA measures.