Dear Research Colleagues,

I would like to provide a further update about how the Australian Research Council (ARC) is supporting the research sector as we continue to adjust to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disruptions researchers, reviewers, partners and administrators are experiencing now will have long term impacts, and the ARC is committed to assisting all as best we can. 

We are continuing to address issues as they come to hand and develop contingencies for impacts for the many ARC-funded researchers, current or prospective, and indeed for the research administrators, peer review assessors and selection advisory committee members affected.

As I shared with you in my previous Network Messages, at this stage we are continuing to progress National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) grant application and peer review processes because a key role of the ARC is to ensure we continue to deliver funding outcomes that will support new and continuing grants for researchers in the recovery period and particularly for new funding for 2020 and 2021.

Supporting applicants

We will make further adjustments as the impact on universities evolves. To go some way to relieving pressure for researchers and research offices preparing applications for submission, the closing date for applications to the following schemes have been extended

The new closing dates are:

  • Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) 2021—29 April 2020
  • Linkage Projects 2020 Assessment Round 1—22 April 2020 
  • Special Research Initiative (SRI) for Australian Society, History and Culture—6 May 2020

Please note—these new dates apply to all applications, administering institutions do not need to submit extension requests.

Supporting peer review and new grants

A number of large schemes have closed in recent weeks, and we are keen to ensure that the time and effort taken by researchers, their collaborators and research office staff in preparing and submitting applications is fully valued.

The ongoing support of our assessor community is critical to the continuation of ARC’s peer review processes and the award of new grants across ARC schemes. These support researchers at all career stages. We thank all of you for continuing to contribute during this period to ensure that Australia will continue to have world class researchers. We are looking closely at each assessment activity and where possible extending timeframes to our selection advisory committee members and assessors to assist them to manage their competing priorities during this period.

Supporting researchers on active projects

Reiterating some of the information in my previous network message for those researchers who are already in receipt of ARC funding, we have extended a range of reporting dates, with a view to easing your current workload. Please see my previous message on the ARC website for details.

Looking to the longer term, the ARC is also working through ways we can minimise the administration of current projects—once the full extent of the impact is known. We are working with researchers and research offices on the many scenarios they are facing due to the disruption, or inability to progress their research. 

We have been advised of difficulties in contracting or keeping partner organisations associated with ARC grants. If you experience this, we encourage you to contact your Research Office and we will work with them to provide additional assistance. 

So to all the research community, my message is that the ARC is working to ensure that our currently funded researchers and those seeking grants are supported to continue their work.

I acknowledge the challenges are significant, and assure you that we will continue to look at how we can best support you into the future. 

Professor Sue Thomas
Chief Executive Officer