31 March 2021

Advancing gender equality in the research sector is a priority for the ARC.  The ARC regularly engages with the sector on gender equality issues across the research workforce and as they relate to ARC activities.   

The ARC College of Experts (College), comprising of experts of international standing drawn from the Australian research community, plays a key role in determining which research projects receive ARC funding. 

The ARC is committed to achieving gender balance on the College and ARC committees, noting the value that increased female membership brings to each committee. Continual progress has been made towards gender parity on the College, with membership increasing from 28.7 per cent women in 2016 to 47.8 per cent in 2021

Source: Australian Research Council 

Professor Sue Thomas, ARC CEO, speaking to Macquarie University’s This Week magazine regarding the gender balance of the College said that the ARC is particularly focused on increasing membership in disciplines where women are significantly under-represented.

‘College of Experts membership in the fields of engineering, information and computing sciences has increased from 14 women and 29 men in 2019, to 20 women and 26 men in 2021. Similarly, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and earth sciences increased from 17 women and 26 men in 2019 to 20 women and 24 men in 2021.’ 

‘We are committed to improving the gender balance of membership on ARC selection committees and encourage women to nominate for membership of the ARC College of Experts in each nomination round, while also noting the risk of administrative overburdening for senior women researchers.’ 

Achieving gender balance within the College is just one of the steps the ARC is taking to achieve gender equality.  The ARC will continue its work in supporting women in the research sector.