Research Administrators’ Seminar Day 2—Policy and Strategy update
15 November 2016
Ms Kylie Emery
Acting Executive General Manager

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The four “I’s”…

  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Indigenous
  • Integrity (and ethics)
  • International

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Interdisciplinary research (IDR)

  • Interdisciplinary research is used by the ARC as an overarching term to describe research approaches that do not fit within a traditional single disciplinary structure.
  • The ARC released a Statement of Support for Interdisciplinary Research in October 2016.
  • The Statement outlines processes the ARC has in place to ensure equitable assessment and evaluation of interdisciplinary research under the NCGP and ERA.
  • Following the major grants announcement on 1 November 2016, the ARC also released IDR data arising from four funding schemes: DP17, DI17, DE17 and FT16.
 

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IDR: NCGP proposals and assessment

  • On proposals: identifies whether a research project is interdisciplinary and in what ways the research is interdisciplinary at submission
  • In assessment: uses Field of Research classification and apportionment to assist with assignment of proposals to assessors
  • In assessment: appoints College of Experts (CoE) members on the basis of interdisciplinary and broad disciplinary expertise
  • In assessment: facilitates consideration of proposals by relevant CoE members with interdisciplinary expertise or allocating to CoE members who have broad disciplinary expertise regardless of discipline grouping
  • In assessment: allocates interdisciplinary proposals to external assessors with specific interdisciplinary expertise or from different disciplines where appropriate
  • In monitoring: uses IDR data to analyse patterns, trends and inconsistencies in application and success rates.

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IDR: Proposals received

Of the 5092 proposals received for funding under the four schemes, 2981 (or 59 per cent) identified as involving IDR. 

 

Column graph showing proposals that identified as involving interdisciplinary research. Figures shown across DECRA 2017, Discovery Projects 2017, Future Fellowships 2016, Discovery Indigenous 2017 and a total percentage.

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IDR: Success rates

The success rate of IDR proposals ranged from 16.0 per cent under DECRAs to 33.3 per cent under the Discovery Indigenous scheme. Success rates are on par with overall success rates achieved for each scheme.

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Comparison column graph showing proposals that identified as involving interdisciplinary research along side the success rates for that scheme. Figures shown across DECRA 2017, Discovery Projects 2017, Future Fellowships 2016, and Discovery Indigenous 2017.

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IDR: Nature of interdisciplinarity (instances)

  • Researchers were able to select more than one category 
  • Methodology—44 per cent of all instances identified
  • Investigatory team—33 per cent of all instances identified
  • Design—20 per cent of all incidences identified 
  • Other—3 per cent of all instances identified 
  • Approximately 70 per cent of funded IDR research projects indicated that they were interdisciplinary in two or more ways.

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Pie chart showing the nature of the interdisciplinary research in proposals submitted to the ARC. Categories: Design, Investigatory team, Methodology, Other.

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IDR: Proposals by 2-digit Field of Research

Bar chart showing proposals by 2-digit Fields of Research (FoR) and proportion of IDR proposals. The FoRs with the highest proportion of IDR proposals are: Medical and health sciences; Built environment and design; Law and legal studies; Philosophy and religious studies.

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IDR: Next steps

NCGP

  • review assessment processes for IDR proposals
  • review funding schemes documentation to ensure references to IDR research are appropriate
  • engage with ARC stakeholders to convey the value of interdisciplinary research including for innovation, commercialisation and industry partnerships

ERA

  • consult with stakeholders to help inform the development of a framework for the national assessment of the engagement and impact of university research

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers and Research
Current elements of ARC support

Indigenous researchers

  • NCGP—all schemes
  • Discovery Indigenous
  • NIRAKN
  • AIATSIS—eligible organisation

Indigenous research

  • NCGP—all schemes
  • Codes of research
  • Australian Government Science and Research Priorities

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers and Research
ARC Research Workforce Statement (December 2015)

  • Complete—ARC statement of support and expectations for gender equality (December 2015)
  • Complete—ARC policy statement: Eligibility and career interruptions (September 2016)
  • Drafted—ARC statement of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers and Research
  • Planned—ARC statement of support for early- and mid-career researchers

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ARC statement of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers and Research

 

Flow chart of important dates in Statement of Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers and Research:

  • October 2016: Targeted consultation—draft ARC statement of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers and Research and Action Plan for 2017. 
  • November 2016: Public release—ARC statement of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers and Research and Action Plan for 2016–17.
  • February 2016: Review—ARC support Indigenous research and researchers.
  • February 2016: General consultation—options for the future support for researchers and research.
  • June 2017: Public release—new ARC funding rules/Action Plan for 2017–18.

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ARC and research integrity

Three key components of ARC involvement in research integrity:

  • Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) and national ethics statements/Codes
    • National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research
    • Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) 
    • Indigenous ethics 
  • ARC Research Integrity and Research Misconduct Policy
  • Australian Research Integrity Committee (ARIC)

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Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

  • Jointly developed by ARC, NHMRC and Universities Australia
  • Compliance with the Code is a condition of ARC funding
  • Currently under review
    • Feedback from initial targeted consultation in late 2015 focused on the level of detail that should be provided in the Code. 
    • Some institutions wanted more guidance, others thought it was too prescriptive.
  • In response a draft principles-based Code has been developed:
    • 6 page document, eight principles and 28 responsibilities for institutions and researchers
    • to be supported by a series of more detailed Guides.
  • Benefits of this approach:
    • allows institutions flexibility in applying the principles and responsibilities supporting them, including adopting an approach that is best suited to their size and internal systems
    • designed to be effective across all disciplines.
  • Public consultation on the principles-based Code and first Guide (on managing and investigating potential breaches) will commence in late 2016.

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Other Statements/Codes

NHMRC (with ARC) also undertaking reviews of:

  • National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research
    • preparing to release section 3 (3.1 and 3.5), glossary and consequential changes to Section 5, for public consultation. 
  • Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) 
    • New electronic form being finalised. Soon to be released.
  • Indigenous ethics 
    • Provision of advice to the Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC) on the revision of both: 
      • Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research 2004; and 
      • Keeping Research on Track: A guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about health research ethics 2005

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ARC Research Integrity and Research Misconduct Policy

  • Outlines requirement for institutions to report to ARC on integrity matterssnapshot of the ARC Research Integrity and  Research Misconduct policy document
  • Provides pathways for members of the public to raise concerns via the ARC
  • Recently consulted with institutions on draft revised policy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summary of key changes

  • Stronger assurances regarding protection of privacy
  • Scope aligned with NHMRC policy
  • Definition of Research Integrity breach clarified 
  • Self-reporting for individuals engaged in ARC business
  • Notification form has been replaced with a list of the information required by the ARC 
  • Further information on ARC processes for determining precautionary and consequential actions will be released concurrently with the policy

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Who/what does the policy apply to?

  • Current and past ARC-funded research
  • Current ARC-funded researchers regardless of whether the matter relates to ARC-funded research
  • Current proposals for funding
  • Current applicants for ARC funding regardless of whether the matter relates to the ARC proposal

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When to notify the ARC

  • Finding of a breach or misconduct through preliminary assessment 
  • (Where matter has been referred to the institution by the ARC) outcome of preliminary assessment regardless of findings 
  • Formal inquiry to commence 
  • ARC funding suspended by institution while inquiry underway
  • Formal inquiry finalised (regardless of findings)

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Support for international research collaboration

  • The ARC’s aim in supporting international research collaboration is to maximise Australia's contribution to, and benefits from research partnerships and developments.
  • Our commitment to international research collaboration through flexible opportunities continues to prove successful.
    • in 2016, 67% of all funded ARC research involves international research collaboration.
  • All ARC funding schemes and fellowships are open to international applicants as long as they apply through an eligible Australian organisation.
  • Researchers located overseas may participate in ARC-funded projects as Partner Investigators (PIs) without any residency requirements.
  • Project funding is available to support the costs of international travel by CIs, Fellows, Awardees and PIs associated with a project.
  • International organisations and researchers may also be collaborating partners or investigators on ARC-funded projects provided they meet the eligibility criteria as found within ARC funding rules.
  • More information: International research collaboration in ARC schemes

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International collaboration on ARC-funded projects 2009–2016

Bar chart illustrating ARC-funded projects from 2009 to 2016 with and without international collaboration.

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International collaboration on ARC-funded projects 2009–2016

World map showing International research collaboration occurring on new and ongoing ARC funded projects in 2016. red represents 0 to 300. Yellow/orange represents 300 to 500. Light green/dark green represents 500 to 1500. There are 6399 instances across 118 countries.

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More news..

  • We are currently reviewing the ARC International webpage
    • Releasing more useful data
    • Simplifying information for international researchers
  • Changes to Application forms have enabled us to collect more information to capture international research collaborations:
    • Nature of collaboration
  • As well as many more individual connections, for new research projects funded in 2016, there are 87 Partner Organisations from 22 countries, involved on 68 projects.
  • Updated ARC International factsheet to highlight opportunities for international collaboration 

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