I hope this edition finds you, your families and work colleagues all well. 2021 continues to be a busy year for the research sector, with activities ramping up for the ARC, and I would like to update you about just some of the key happenings since our last edition in March.

I can certainly attest to the extraordinary amount of work occurring through the ongoing assessment processes for current National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) scheme rounds, negotiating through the rigorous review processes of detailed assessments and selection meetings, in preparation for anticipated grant recommendations for funding.

I am pleased that the online processes put in place last year, such as virtual selection meetings, have continued to be refined and have now almost become, the new ‘business as usual’ to allow ARC peer review activities to continue in the most effective way possible. I would like to thank all who have taken part in these processes, in particular our assessor community, as without their support the system could simply not occur. And for those interested in knowing a little bit more about the assessment cycle and the role of assessors in the grants process, we have a brief feature included in this edition of ARChway dedicated to answering some common questions.

A recent announcement for the ARC was of course the release of the final report from the Review of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and Engagement and Impact (EI) national research assessments. The review found that ERA and EI continue to reflect best practice in national research assessment, as well as identifying some opportunities for streamlining and improvement. Indeed, I was pleased to report the ARC’s acceptance of all the recommendations from the Review, and released the ERA and EI Action Plan, which outlines how the ARC will work collaboratively with universities to implement the review outcomes. I encourage you to read more about the report and the ARC’s response to the recommendations of the Review.

Over coming months, I look forward to releasing another annual edition of the ARC’s Making a Difference publication, which as usual, will shine a light on just a handful of the thousands of research projects occurring over the past 12 months, and exciting research outcomes made possible with NCGP funding support. I thank all the universities and researchers for continuing to share the good news of their inspiring research.

We also anticipate a very busy second half of the year as we await not only the announcement of outcomes for some of the ARC’s major research grants under the Discovery and Linkage Programs, but also the launches of many ARC Centres of Excellence, Industrial Transformation Training Centres and Research Hubs awarded funding in 2020, that are kicking off their research endeavours in earnest.

I hope you enjoy the articles in this Winter edition of ARChway.

Professor Sue Thomas

Image: Professor Sue Thomas. Credit: Norman Plant Photography