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CEO INTRODUCTION


Professor Sue Thomas, CEO

I am pleased to introduce the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2018–19. The RAP forms an integral part of the ARC’s commitment to reconciliation and to supporting and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through our core business activities.

As an entity, our ongoing commitment is to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander priorities in research, build participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and students in the research and broader workforce, feature Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievements and research highlights in our publications, and liaise with researchers and community members.

In particular, over the next twelve months, the ARC will focus on:

  • reviewing our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers under all funding schemes, including Discovery Indigenous
  • implementing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research component of the Engagement and Impact Assessment, and
  • building our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce, including by implementing actions under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy 2017–2019 , and continuing our trainee program.

I am proud of the progress the ARC is making on our reconciliation journey and of the commitment to this shown across the agency, including within our Diversity Working Group (DWG) (which incorporates the RAP Working Group) and by the Indigenous and Diversity champions.

During the period of the RAP, the ARC will continue to drive our reconciliation journey, celebrating significant Indigenous cultural events, building a culturally diverse and aware workforce, and supporting research that is achieving real benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.

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MESSAGE FROM OUR INDIGENOUS CHAMPION

Julija Deleva, Acting Branch Manager, Corporate Services Indigenous Champion

I am delighted to be part of an organisation that is embracing our reconciliation journey and to work with people who are passionate about forging and implementing change in this area.

The ARC is actively building a culturally aware workforce and implementing a range of measures to expand our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce, including maintaining our trainee program.

In 2018–2019, the ARC will undertake a range of initiatives, including the Engagement and Impact Assessment, which will improve the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research conducted in Australian universities. Through the National Competitive Grants Program, we will fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and research, which:

  • recognises the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, languages, history and knowledge and play a part in their preservation
  • is building an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research workforce through projects, fellowships and awards which enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to pursue research in any field, and
  • is funding researchers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on major issues, including in education, economic development, health and social justice.

I believe that the ARC is demonstrating our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities and I look forward to continuing our reconciliation journey.

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AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL 

Our Business

The Australian Research Council (ARC) is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity within the Australian Government’s Education and Training portfolio.

The ARC’s purpose is to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community by funding the highest quality research, assessing the quality, engagement and impact of research and providing advice on research matters.

The ARC:

  • funds the highest quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines
  • brokers partnerships between researchers and industry, government, community organisations and the international community
  • assesses research quality nationally within Australian universities and, commencing in 2018, will assess research engagement and impact
  • provides advice to the Australian Government on research matters and investment in the national research effort.

Located in Canberra, Ngunnawal country, the ARC has 136 employees. The ARC is actively pursuing opportunities for increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, secondments and traineeships. Through a new trainee program, the ARC has engaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees in a range of positions across the ARC and aims to extend this program.

Image: Artwork by Greg Joseph, depicting the diversity of Australian Research Council employees.

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Our Reconciliation Plan

The ARC has developed this Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to demonstrate our commitment to reconciliation through our workplace culture and core business activities, including:

  • supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and research students through National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) funding schemes
  • funding research through the NCGP on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, nations, communities, language, place, culture and knowledges to achieve economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits
  • assessing and reporting on the impacts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research, and the role of universities in supporting the translation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research into impacts, as part of the Engagement and Impact Assessment
  • building a diverse workplace supporting active recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and trainees
  • enabling employee engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through our partnerships and networks
  • providing training to all employees about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and heritage
  • respecting and observing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols and customs in our activities.

The RAP has been developed by the RAP Working Group (RWG), in consultation with the ARC’s Chief Executive Officer; the Indigenous Champion, Acting Branch Manager, Corporate Services; the Diversity Champion, Branch Manager, Policy and Strategy and ARC employees.

The RWG was established in 2015 and comprises a minimum of eight members, including representatives from areas across the ARC, at a range of levels, the Indigenous Champion and Diversity Champion. One member, at least, is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.

Members provide leadership in promoting and integrating diversity and equity principles; participate in, and promote cultural events relevant to the Workplace Diversity Program, and participate in the drafting and review of relevant documents including the RAP. The Reflect RAP is an initiative within the ARC’s Workplace Diversity Program 2015–2019.

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Our Partnerships and Current Activities

The ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) funds the highest quality research leading to the discovery of new ideas and the advancement of knowledge. Funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, research students and research is a key component of the NCGP.

The Discovery Indigenous scheme specifically funds research projects, in any discipline, led by an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander researcher, independently or in collaboration with others, including non- Indigenous researchers. Funding is also available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher degree by research students and, uniquely under the NCGP, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander honours students.

Funding for research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, nations, communities, language, place, culture and knowledges is available under all NCGP schemes.

In 2012, the ARC funded the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN)  under the Special Research Initiatives scheme—the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers’ Network.

NIRAKN was to establish a network that would bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers at all career stages and from a range of discipline areas at research institutions across Australia.

The Network’s core functions are to build Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research capacity, mentor new researchers and advance research in Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

The ARC is currently reviewing our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, research students and research. The outcomes of the consultation will inform ongoing support and funding.

In 2018, the ARC is implementing the Engagement and Impact Assessment, which will examine how universities are translating their research into economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits, and provide incentives for greater collaboration between universities, industry and other end-users of research.

A key component of the assessment is the use of qualitative studies to capture the impacts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research, as well as university support for translating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research into wider impacts.

Consultation with representatives of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research community has, and will continue to be, an important and integral part of the implementation processes.

Relationships

Action

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

1. Resource and maintain the RWG

The RWG will meet regularly to support the implementation of the RAP, including to:

 

  • Indigenous Champion
  • RWG
  • oversee the launch of the RAP
  • oversee the launch of the RAP

Apr 2018

  • actively monitor RAP development, implementation of actions, tracking progress and reporting

Sept 2018

  • establish specific goals for the RWG as a component of the DWG

Apr 2018

  • ensure the RWG continues to include at least one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander member.

Feb 2019

2. Build internal and external relationships

Continue to liaise with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, including Indigenous Business Australia, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and the RAP talking circle about the ARC’s reconciliation journey.

Sept 2018

  • Indigenous Champion
  • RWG
  • Research Excellence Branch
  • Programs Branch
  • Policy and Strategy
    Branch
  • ARC staff

Further develop the list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations within our local area or sphere of influence that we connect with on our reconciliation journey.

July 2018

Liaise with Australian universities, many of whom have RAPs, regarding ongoing funding, engagement and impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, research students and research.

Nov 2018

Continue to liaise with the National Health and Medical Research Council and AIATSIS to inform our core business, including a review of the Indigenous Research Guidelines.

July 2018

Engage with other RAP organisations to enhance our reconciliation journey, including participation in reconciliation events and promoting research outcomes of researchers at RAP organisations.

July 2018

Continue to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and end-users of research through the implementation of the Engagement and Impact Assessment.

July 2018

3. Participate in and celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW)

Host an annual NRW event.

Register NRW events, as appropriate, on Reconciliation Australia’s website.

Continue to promote NRW to all employees through a range of internal communications, including circulating Reconciliation Australia’s NRW resources.

Encourage employees to attend NRW events external to the ARC.

Annual event

27 May—3 June 2018

  • Indigenous Champion
  • RWG
  • Stakeholder Relations Section
  • ARC staff

4. Raise internal and external awareness of our RAP

Feature the RAP and the ARC’s commitment to reconciliation, including employee responsibilities, through internal communications.

Include the RAP, as appropriate, in the ARC’s policies.

Sept 2018

  • Indigenous Champion
  • RWG
  • ARC staff

5. Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers

Review the ARC Statement of Support and Action Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers.

Incorporate RAP actions, as appropriate, into the Statement and Action Plan; review actions each year.

April 2018

  • Branch Manager, Policy
    and Strategy
  • Strategy and Governance Section

Respect

Action

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

1. Increase employee awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements through a range of strategies, including training, internal communication and engagement with external stakeholders.

Capture data and measure our current level of knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements.

April 2018

  • Indigenous
    Champion
  • RWG
  • Human Resources Section
  • Stakeholder
    Relations Section

Promote employee awareness and use of Reconciliation Australia’s, Share Our Pride online tool.

July 2018

Review cultural awareness training needs as part of the ARC’s overall training program.

July 2018

Develop a strategy for increasing awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements.

Sept 2018

2. Participate in and celebrate NAIDOC Week

Share information with ARC employees about NAIDOC Week and the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

Encourage employees to participate in NAIDOC Week activities external to the ARC, including the inter-agency touch football competition.

Encourage RWG members to participate in NAIDOC Week events external to the ARC.

Highlight the ARC funded projects that relate to each year’s NAIDOC Week theme.

Annual event

8–15 July 2018

  • Indigenous
    Champion
  • RWG
  • Stakeholder
    Relations Section
  • ARC staff

3. Raise internal understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols

Continue to comply with the guidelines as set out in: Protocols for respecting country and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all communications and engagements.

April 2018

  • Indigenous Champion
  • Human Resources Section
  • Stakeholder Relations Section

Explore who the Traditional Owners are of the lands and waters in our local area.

July 2018

Scope and develop a list of local Traditional Owners of the lands and waters within the ARC’s sphere of influence. Develop and implement a plan to raise awareness and understanding of the meaning and significance behind Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country protocols (including any local cultural protocols).

July 2018

4. Require all ARC funded research to meet cultural, legal and ethical protocols

All ARC funded research must, as applicable, meet the:

  • NHMRC Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (2003)
  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies (2012)
  • Australia Council for the Arts Indigenous Cultural Protocols for Producing Indigenous Music; Writing; Visual Arts; Media Arts; and Performing Arts (2007).

Sept 2018

  • Indigenous Champion
  • Programs Branch
  • Policy and Strategy Branch

Opportunities

Action

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

1. Support and raise the profile of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, research students and research

Fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers for projects, fellowships and awards, and centres and hubs through the NCGP.

Nov 2018

  • Executive Directors
  • Programs Branch
  • Stakeholder Relations Section
  • Policy and Strategy Branch
  • Research Excellence Branch

Fund Discovery Indigenous scheme projects and awards led by an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander researcher.

Nov 2018

Fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher degree research students through the NCGP, and specifically under the Discovery Indigenous scheme, honours students.

Nov 2018

Fund research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, nations, communities, language, place, culture and knowledges through the NCGP to achieve economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits.

Nov 2018

Feature Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research outcomes and achievements in ARC internal and external publications including the annual publication: Making a Difference: Outcomes of ARC Supported Research.

June 2018

Through the Engagement and Impact Assessment, assess and report on the impacts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research and university support for translating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research into wider impacts.

Nov 2018

2. Monitor ARC support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and research

Monitor, analyse and report funding outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers across NCGP schemes on the ARC website.

Nov 2018

  • Policy and Strategy Branch
  • Programs Branch
  • External consultant

Explore future funding models for ongoing ARC support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, research students and research.

Conduct a consultation to review existing funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, research students and research.

June 2018

3. Investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment opportunities

Identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment providers to inform future employment and development opportunities.

Oct 2018

  • Indigenous Champion
  • RWG
  • Human Resources Section

Attract and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, trainees or interns.

March 2019

Implement key actions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy 2017–2019.

March 2019

4. Investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity

Utilise Supply Nation resources to expand procurement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses.

July 2018

  • Indigenous Champion
  • Finance Section

Develop a business case for procurement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses.

July 2018

5. Engage with ARC funded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers

Invite ARC funded Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander researchers to give presentations about their research to employees at the ARC.

Sept 2018

  • Indigenous Champion
  • Stakeholder Relations Section

Governance and Tracking Progress

Action

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

1. Build support for the RAP

Define resource needs for RAP development and implementation.

Nov 2018

  • Indigenous 
    Champion
  • RWG
  • Finance Section
  • Policy and
    Strategy Branch

Define systems and capability needs to track, measure and report on RAP activities.

Nov 2018

Complete the annual RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire and submit to Reconciliation Australia.

Sept 2018

2. Review and refresh RAP

Liaise with Reconciliation Australia to develop a new RAP based on learnings, challenges and achievements.

March 2019

  • Indigenous
    Champion
  • RWG
  • Policy and Strategy Branch

Submit draft RAP to Reconciliation Australia for review and formal endorsement.

April 2019

3. Report Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and funding

Publish participation and funding statistics for the Discovery Indigenous scheme.

April 2018

  • Strategy and
    Governance Section

Publish participation data across NCGP schemes.

Nov 2018

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