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Excellence in Research for Australia


ERA Transition Working Group

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms Judi Zielke PSM, has convened an expert working group to support the ARC to develop a modern data driven approach for Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

ERA is Australia’s national research assessment, administered by the ARC. It identifies and promotes excellence in research in Australia’s higher education institutions through comparisons with international benchmarks.

The ARC will develop a plan to transition ERA to a modern data driven approach in line with the Statement of Expectations. An ERA evaluation round will not be conducted in 2023. This will reduce workload for universities and enable the ARC to prioritise this work.

The working group will comprise:

  • Ms Judi Zielke PSM, CEO, ARC (Chair)
  • Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington AO, DVCR, University of South Australia
  • Professor Chris Moran FTSE, DVCR, Curtin University
  • Professor Mary Spongberg, DVCR, Southern Cross University
  •  Professor Nick Fisk AM, DVCR, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Kate McGrath, DVCR, University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Duncan Ivison FAHA, Previous DVCR, University of Sydney
  • Mr Alistair Maclean, Chief Executive Officer, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency
  • Ms Vicki Thomson, CEO, Go8
  • Mr Dom English, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Education
  • Professor Steve Larkin, PVC-Indigenous Engagement, University of Adelaide
  • Professor Cameron Neylon, Curtin University
  • Mr Tony Sheil, Director, Office for Research, Griffith University
  • Ms Michelle Duryea, Edith Cowan University and Convenor, Research Information and Reporting Special Interest Group, Australasian Research Management Society 

Broad consultation will occur later this year. The transition plan will be delivered by December 2022 for implementation in 2024-25.

Excellence in Research for Australia

The ARC administers Australia’s national research assessment, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). ERA identifies and promotes excellence across the full range of research in Australia’s higher education institutions.

Through ERA the ARC identifies excellence in research. It does this by comparing Australia's university research against international benchmarks. This creates incentives to improve the quality of research.

The first round of ERA, and the first nationwide assessment of research disciplines in Australia, was conducted in 2010. The ARC published the results in early 2011. ERA assessments were conducted in 2012, 2015, and 2018.

You can read each of the ERA Reports and ratings for each field of research at each institution are available on the ARC Data Portal. Key documents for previous ERA rounds (2010, 2012, 2015 and 2018) are available at Archived Material. 

In 2020-21, the ARC conducted a comprehensive review of ERA and the Engagement and Impact Assessment, a companion exercise, to ensure our national assessments address Australia's future needs. The ERA EI Review Final Report 2020-2021 is available PDF format – Word format.

ARC Data Portal

The ARC Data Portal contains:

ERA Background

What are the objectives of ERA?

ERA aims to:

  • Promote excellence: Rigorously assess research quality to promote pursuit of excellence across all fields and all types of research.
  • Inform decisions: Provide a rich and robust source of information on university research excellence and activity to inform and support the needs of university, industry, government, and community stakeholders
  • Demonstrate quality: Provide government and the public with evidence of the quality of research produced by Australia’s universities
  • Enable comparisons: Allow for comparisons between Australian universities and against world standard for all discipline areas.

How are the disciplines defined?

For ERA, the ARC defines disciplines as two-digit and four-digit Field of Research (FoR) codes using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC). For more information about ANZSRC, contact the ABS National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or visit Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification.

What do the ERA outcomes tell us?

ERA evaluates performance within each discipline at each university. It provides a view of Australian research, from quantum physics to literature. It highlights our research strengths across all disciplines in areas of critical importance. ERA results also highlight the research strengths of individual universities. National Report data provides contextual information about research application, knowledge exchange and collaboration.

What are some of the benefits of ERA?

ERA provides reliable data about the quality of research in the higher education sector that:

  • allows research managers and investors to identify and reward research excellence.
  • assures Australian taxpayers that their investment in research is well spent
  • allows research managers and investors to identify opportunities for further development or investment
  • facilitates strategic planning to further strengthen Australia's research capabilities
  • helps promote Australia's research strengths on the world stage.

Government, universities, and other stakeholders use ERA data and outcomes. For example, many universities include ERA results in their annual reports and strategic plans. And universities use ERA outcomes to promote their research strengths, here and abroad.

By taking part in ERA, universities have reported improvements in the quality of their own research data holdings.

How is ERA data used?

ERA data is of interest to government, universities, industry, and prospective students. Data from current and previous ERA rounds provides valuable information. For example, ERA data:

  • informs a range of policy advice and initiatives across government
  • assists institutions with their strategic planning, decision-making, and promotional activity
  • provides students, industry and other stakeholders fine-grained, discipline-based information not available elsewhere.

ERA and HERDC Alignment

The ARC is developing ways to streamline the submission process for universities. This includes using existing data sets and new technological approaches.

It also includes aligning ERA data requirements with other higher education data collections such as the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC), and Higher Education Staff Data Collection (HESDC) administered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).

Where can ERA presentations be found?

ARC presentations are made available on the website.

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