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Indigenous studies

ERA EI Refelections

Indigenous studies will be evaluated as a discipline for the first time in the ARC’s two national research evaluation programs – Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and the Engagement and Impact (EI) assessment. Assessing Indigenous studies in ERA and EI will raise the profile of Indigenous research by recognising the contribution Indigenous studies makes to the quality, engagement and impact of research in Australia.

Following the outcomes in 2021 of the ERA EI review, the ARC will:

  • include Indigenous studies using the same overall methodology as other disciplines, with a review to follow
  • work with universities on leadership in implementing the new discipline in the evaluations.

In ERA and EI, research disciplines are defined by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) Fields of Research (FoR). The ARC uses the ANZSRC FoR to collect and report information on research in Australia through the ERA and EI programs. Indigenous studies was classified as a new division, with new corresponding groups and FoR in 2020 (ANZSRC 2020) following a two year review. The definitions for Indigenous studies and corresponding groups were co-developed with Indigenous researchers in Australia and New Zealand.

The ARC is working closely with stakeholders to raise awareness of the new discipline and how it will be implemented in ERA and EI.

Subscribe to this list if you would like to be notified of any updates on this work. 


Indigenous Studies Excellence and Engagement Group (ISEE)

The Indigenous Studies Excellence and Engagement Group (ISEE) was formed in September 2021 and concluded in June 2022. The role of the group was to

  • co-design and promote strategies for sector-wide leadership in applying the Indigenous studies FoR in ERA 2023 and EI 2024, and
  • encourage and support Indigenous researchers to participate in submission and assessment processes.

The ISEE developed a range of leadership strategies for universities that are outlined in a roadmap and some supplementary materials which were identified as an action in the roadmap.

Indigenous Studies Roadmap – PDF

The supplementary materials were designed as a communication tool only. The ERA Submission Guidelines and other technical documents remain the authoritative source.

The strategies support universities to take a leadership role, by:

  • highlighting and promoting the value of Indigenous/First Nations research and engagement with Indigenous/First Nations perspectives
  • ensuring accurate and most effective reporting of Indigenous studies data in ERA and EI submissions
  • involving Indigenous researchers in ERA and EI processes
  • addressing barriers to and creating pathways for successful implementation of Indigenous studies
  • increasing the cohort and capacity of Indigenous research panel members and peer reviewers.

The group’s diverse membership reflected the variety of leadership roles in the sector including Indigenous research leaders, university research leaders, university delegates, university administrators and the ARC. Members were self-nominated or nominated by their university through an expression of interest process.

Members of the group

Name Title and Organisation

Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver (Co-chair)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Services, The University of Sydney

Professor Bronwyn Harch (Co-chair)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Vice President (Research and Innovation), The University of Queensland

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt

Director, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology, Sydney

Dr Bindi Bennett

Associate Professor, First Nations Health, Bond University

Professor Reuben Bolt PhD MBA MMAP BHShons

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, First Nations Leadership, Charles Darwin University

Professor Tony Dreise

Pro Vice-Chancellor, First Nations Education and Research, University of Southern Queensland

Professor Ralph Horne

Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Design and Social Context, RMIT University

Ms Sarah Howard

Branch Manager, Research Excellence, Australian Research Council

Professor Duncan Ivison

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, The University of Sydney

Mr Nathaniel Lewis

Director of Research Reporting, Analysis, Data and Systems (RRADS), The University of Sydney

Associate Professor Dan McAullay

Director, Aboriginal Research and Director of the Centre for Improving Health Services for Aboriginal Children and Families, Edith Cowan University

Professor Jennifer Milam

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic Excellence, The University of Newcastle

Professor Chris Moran FTSE

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Curtin University

Ms Helen Morgan

Director, ERA and EI, The University of Queensland

Professor Cindy Shannon AM

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) and Head, Logan Campus, Griffith University

Professor Mary Spongberg

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Southern Cross University

Mr Nathan Towney

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Leadership, The University of Newcastle

Professor Irene Watson

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, University of South Australia

Professor Peter Yu

Vice-President, First Nations, The Australian National University


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