7 December 2015

ARC welcomes new measures to boost innovation

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council (ARC), Professor Aidan Byrne, has today welcomed new measures to be implemented by the ARC to help boost the innovative capacity of the nation.

As part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda the Government today announced a number of new measures to assist in boosting the commercial returns of publicly-funded research.

The ARC will have an important role in delivering on some of these new measures, including the development and introduction of an impact and engagement assessment of Australian university research; and implementation of a continuous Linkage Projects scheme.

“The Government’s decision to develop the impact and engagement assessment will run alongside Australia’s internationally renowned system for measuring research quality—Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

“The impact and engagement assessment will demonstrate the benefits of Australia’s investment in university research by showing how universities are translating their research into economic, social, environmental and other impacts.

“With the ERA 2015 outcomes released last week, we know that Australia’s universities are producing outstanding research and that the quality continues to improve.

“High-quality research is foundational to valuable and ongoing innovation and ERA has a strong record of encouraging universities to focus on quality.

“However, innovation needs more than just quality research, and it’s important we do more to encourage universities, industry and others to work together to derive the greatest benefits for Australia from the outstanding research that our universities produce.

“The introduction of the new impact and engagement assessment running in conjunction with ERA, will address this and ensure there are strong incentives for researchers to produce high-quality and impactful research with real world benefits.

“The assessment will report on impact and engagement at a university level by discipline and the evaluations will be conducted by university and industry experts.

“The exact measures for the assessment will be determined through extensive consultation with the higher education and research sector, industry and other end-users of research.

“The ARC will undertake consultation and development of the assessment in 2016 and then conduct a pilot assessment in 2017. The first full impact and engagement assessment and reporting will take place in 2018, alongside ERA 2018.

“The ARC has in recent times been making positive steps in the direction of a focus on impact by incorporating an impact statement in new funding proposals; it is important that researchers consider how their publicly-funded research will benefit the nation,” Professor Byrne said.

In an effort to ensure more end-users are able to engage more readily with our researchers the ARC will also implement changes to the current Linkage Projects scheme.

The current one round per year scheme will move to a continuous proposal scheme from 1 July 2016, with high-quality proposals being expedited to the Minister for decision.

“The ARC is pleased to work on this measure also as the agency has received feedback that a closer connect between proposal submission and outcome announcement would allow industry and business to collaborate more readily, particularly with regard to budgets and forward planning.

“Making improvements to the system to allow end-users a greater opportunity to collaborate is vital if we are to boost the innovation of the nation.

“This measure, announced by the Government today, reinforces the importance of high-quality and impactful proposals.

“The ARC is looking forward to working with the sector on these new measures and will communicate clearly with stakeholders during the development and implementation of the ARC’s new measures,” Professor Byrne said.

Media contact:
ARC Stakeholder Relations
0412 623 056 or communications@arc.gov.au