13 September 2016


Institutional Insights: Volume 2 of the State of Australian University Research

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has today released the second volume of the inaugural State of Australian University Research 2015–16 series—Institutional Insights, which shows ongoing improvement in the quality of research in Australia.

The series reports on the results of Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), Australia’s national research evaluation framework, which identifies and promotes excellence across the full spectrum of research activity in Australia’s higher education institutions.

The latest volume provides an insight into selected topics, including: ERA ratings achieved by institutions over the three ERA rounds conducted in 2010, 2012 and 2015; gender balance across research disciplines; and open access research outputs.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the ARC, Ms Leanne Harvey, said that Volume 1 of the series—released in December 2015—presented a comprehensive assessment of the quality of research by discipline conducted in Australia’s higher education institutions and now Volume 2 looks at some selected areas of interest to provide a deeper understanding of the state of Australian university research.

“It is clear from both reports that there has been substantial improvement in the quality of research output from the higher education sector over the course of three rounds of ERA from 2010 to 2015,” said Ms Harvey.

“There have been steady increases in the proportion of ERA ratings ‘above’ and ‘well above’ world standard over the three rounds, and a consistent decrease in units rated ‘below’ or ‘well below’ world standard over the same time.

“Through ERA 2015—with gender data being collected for the first time at a discipline level—we now have a baseline for comparing gender data across the university research sector at a discipline level. While the data did not form part of the evaluation process, it does allow for important analysis of Australia’s research workforce now and into the future.

“While overall, more males than females were identified as research staff in ERA 2015 submissions, significant differences in gender balance did arise across disciplines at the two-digit Fields of Research level.

“Discipline data shows some areas where more females than males are undertaking research, including in Education (65 per cent female); Language, Communication and Culture (57 per cent female); Psychology and Cognitive Sciences (56 per cent female); Studies in Human Society (52 percent female); and Medical and Health Sciences (52 per cent female).

“Once again, ERA has provided us with an important snapshot of Australia’s research landscape. This enables us to identify our emerging strengths, as well as areas where we can continue to improve.”
For the full State of Australian University Research 2015–16: Volume 2 Institutional Insights, please visit the ARC website.

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