1. Acknowledgement

The Australian Research Council (ARC) acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respect to them and their cultures, and elders past, present and future.

2. Purpose of this document

The purpose of this document is to provide the ARC’s response to the findings and recommendations arising from an evaluation of ARC support for Indigenous researchers and Indigenous research commissioned by the ARC in 2017. The evaluation, which was conducted by Wells Advisory, comprised (see terms of reference at Appendix 1):

  • an analysis of the context within which ARC support is provided;
  • an analysis of National Competitive Grant Program (NCGP) data relating to Indigenous researchers and research; and
  • the conduct of in-depth interviews with 25 Indigenous researchers.

On 27 February 2018, the ARC convened a workshop of Indigenous researchers and other representatives to discuss the technical and structural reforms suggested in the evaluation report. Feedback from that workshop and further discussion within the ARC has been used to inform the ARC’s response to each of the main findings and recommendations and the actions proposed.

3. Context

The statistics below are provided as context for the ARC’s support for the area Indigenous research and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are estimated to represent 2.8 per cent of the total Australian population, up from 2.5 per cent in 2011 (Reference 1).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics are estimated to represent 0.7 per cent of the total Australian academic population (Reference 2).
  • In 2015, 1.11 per cent of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates enrolled in Australian universities were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students accounted for 0.66 per cent of domestic HDR completions (Reference 3).

The consultant that conducted the evaluation was also asked to take into account, where relevant, findings and recommendations of the report of the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (the Behrendt Report, Reference 4), and subsequent changes to administration of NCGP support for  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and research.

The Behrendt Report recommended the use of a population parity concept for establishing education targets and defined this as the as the proportion of the population aged between 15 and 64 years that is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander according to ABS population statistics (Behrendt Report 2012 p. 17). The national parity rate is currently 2.8 per cent, as indicated above.

A description of the key elements of the ARC’s support for Indigenous researchers and research, including a timeline of key events in the history of the ARC’s support in this area, is provided in Appendix 2.

4. Main findings and recommendations of the evaluation

[The findings and recommendations have been numbered to assist with identification.]

Main findings

On the basis of quantitative data analysis and qualitative interviews of Indigenous researchers, we have made three major findings.

1. Relative to the size of the Indigenous academic workforce and the population parity targets, the level of Australian Research Council (ARC) support for Indigenous researchers and research has, in the past five years, been strong and growing.

2. Indigenous researchers have appreciated the level of ARC support but have indicated, as the quantitative data analysis also suggests, that redirecting some of that support towards Indigenous higher degree by research students and postdoctoral and early-career researchers would be highly desirable in order to broaden the entry base for ARC-funded Indigenous researchers.

3. That a range of small technical and larger structural reforms should be considered by the ARC to substantially enhance its investment in this area. We have included a list of recommendations below.

Summary of recommendations

1. A greater focus is required by the ARC on capacity building amongst doctoral, postdoctoral and early-career researcher, predominantly female Indigenous academics. The pipeline of research active Indigenous academics needs expanding.

1.1 Discovery Indigenous awards should prioritise higher degree by research students and postdoctoral and early-career researchers, and include fellowships equivalent to Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards.

1.2 The ARC should consult with the Department of Education and Training to generate a coordinated approach regarding Indigenous higher degree by research scholarships.

1.3 There should be limitations (two or three successes) on senior researchers being funded through Discovery Indigenous.

2. The purpose of Discovery Indigenous as the ARC’s principal form of support for Indigenous researchers needs to be better communicated and pathways through other schemes articulated.

2.1 The publication of a short clear statement of the purpose and rationale for Discovery Indigenous, especially following changes, be widely circulated to Indigenous researchers.

2.2 Data relating to Indigenous researchers and research supported by the ARC be regularly collected, analysed and published.

2.3 A group of dedicated Future Fellowships for Indigenous researchers should be introduced.

2.4 One dedicated and named Laureate Fellowship should be supported.

2.5 The overall size of the Indigenous assessor data base for Indigenous researchers and research should be increased to improve its robustness and capacity to deal with the growing number and breadth of applications.

3.  The ARC needs to build closer partnerships with supportive and successful research offices, and to extend these relationships to all Eligible Organisations.

3.1 The ARC should improve awareness of ‘outlier assessment’, the use of ‘Requests Not to Assess’, and explain how individual assessments impact on the final rankings.
3.2 The ARC should encourage ‘best practice’ to support Indigenous applicants at all Eligible Organisations, to better inform and support Indigenous researchers.

3.3 The ARC should establish a website specific to Indigenous researchers and research to provide information, data, contacts and case studies, as well as to showcase successful Indigenous researchers and research.

4. Community relationships with Indigenous researchers, and in particular non-Indigenous researchers (in the design, the research process and in assessing its impact), needs to be integral to peer review funding proposal assessment.

4.1 That ARC defines specific Indigenous community benefit outcomes to outweigh, if necessary, national benefit and current research priorities.

4.2 Appropriate community involvement in project design, undertaking the research and assessing its subsequent impact on community life should be mandatory.

4.3 The ARC requests, if practicable, the Australian Bureau of Statistics to amend its Field of Research Codes to better represent and capture Indigenous research.

5. ARC response to main findings and recommendations of the evaluation

Main finding 1: Level of ARC support

Relative to the size of the Indigenous academic workforce and the population parity targets, the level of Australian Research Council (ARC) support for Indigenous researchers and research has, in the past five years, been strong and growing.

ARC response

The ARC notes and is encouraged by this finding.

The key statistics provided in the report to support this finding are outlined below.

Figures from the Higher Education staff data collection show that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic workforce accounted for an average of 0.72 per cent of the total academic workforce across the years 2001 to 2016, ranging from a high of 0.77 per cent in 2005 to a low of 0.68 per cent in 2007 (Figure 1).

It also shows the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic workforce:

  • has a distinct gender profile with 60 to 66 per cent being female and 34-40 per cent being male. By way of contrast the non-Indigenous academic workforce has been as high as 65 per cent male and 35 per cent female; and
  • has a particular employment profile with 21 per cent of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic workforce being Level A, 39 per cent Level B, 16 per cent Level C, 10 per cent Level D and 14 per cent Level E in 2016. The number of level D and E Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic staff as a proportion of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic staff has increased since 2001 (Figure 2).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers applying for and being awarded funding under the NCGP (across all schemes) is 0.8 per cent of proposals received and 1.1 per cent of research projects funded). While numbers are low, they are in line with the proportions recorded for the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic workforce.

Indigenous research projects were identified using the Field of Research and Socio-Economic Objectives codes relevant to Indigenous research (Reference 5).  In the period 2002 to 2009 the ARC awarded some 1.5 per cent of its total funds to research proposals which had an Indigenous research focus. In the period 2010 to 2017 the level of supported awarded to Indigenous research increased to 3.8 per cent of total ARC funds awarded (Figure 3).

The ARC will:

  • continue to monitor its performance against the goal of population parity. The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers as a proportion of total researchers supported under the NCGP is identified as a measure in the ARC Corporate Plan and will be reported against in the ARC Annual Report.

Figure 1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Academics as a % of Total Academics


Line graph showing the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Academics as a proportion of total academics, by academic level. The figure shows that the proportion of Level A and B Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Academics is higher than the proportion of Leves C, D and E.

Figure 2: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Academic Staff by level, proportion by year


Line graph that shows the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic staff by level, over time. The figure shows that the proportion of Level E researchers is increasing.

Figure 3: Funding allocated to Indigenous research, new and ongoing by allocation year


Bar and line chart showing the funding allocated to Indigenous research by allocation year. The figure shows that the proportion of total ARC funding allocated to Indigenous research has slowly increased between 2002 and 2018.

Main finding 2: Supporting research training and career development

Indigenous researchers have appreciated the level of ARC support but have indicated, as the quantitative data analysis also suggests, that redirecting some of that support towards Indigenous higher degree by research students and postdoctoral and early-career researchers would be highly desirable in order to broaden the entry base for ARC-funded Indigenous researchers.

ARC response

The ARC supports this finding and is considering possible actions.

The ARC is committed to supporting and facilitating research training and career opportunities for excellent Australian and international researchers, including supporting the development of the research expertise of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers (ARC Research Workforce Statement (December 2017)).

Targeted support for research training and career development is available under the Discovery Indigenous scheme, with provision for: Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards (DAATSIAs) at five salary levels; and project funding which can be used for the salaries of postgraduate and honours students.

Main finding 3: Other recommendations

That a range of small technical and larger structural reforms should be considered by the ARC to substantially enhance its investment in this area. We have included a list of recommendations below.

Recommendation 1: Building research capacity

A greater focus is required by the ARC on capacity building amongst doctoral, postdoctoral and early-career researchers, predominantly female Indigenous academics. The pipeline of research active Indigenous academics needs expanding. In particular:

  • Discovery Indigenous awards should prioritise higher degree by research students and postdoctoral and early-career researchers, and include fellowships equivalent to Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards;
  • the ARC should consult with the Department of Education and Training to generate a coordinated approach regarding Indigenous higher degree by research scholarships; and
  • there should be limitations (two or three successes) on senior researchers being funded through Discovery Indigenous.

ARC response

The ARC supports this recommendation, and notes the specific suggestions identified.

The ARC agrees that building research capacity across all participant groups is critical to the future of Australian research.  This includes building capacity amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics.

In relation to the prioritisation of research training under the Discovery Indigenous scheme, the ARC notes that the current Discovery Indigenous scheme includes:

  • salaried support for Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards at five levels (including early- and mid-career levels); and
  • project funding which can be used to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher degree by research students, early career researchers and, uniquely under the NCGP, to support honours students.

Approximately one-third of fellowships awarded since the five levels were introduced have been awarded to researchers at the early career researcher level.

In relation to development of a coordinated approach regarding Indigenous higher degree by research scholarships, the ARC notes that changes to the research block grants, including the Research Training Program allocation formula, have superseded this suggestion.

The ARC notes that the current format of the Discovery Indigenous scheme arose out of stakeholder discussions conducted in 2010, and reflects a desire articulated by those stakeholders for the scheme to provide flexible support for building capacity, while still providing opportunities for more senior researchers to play a mentoring role. For this reason the ARC does not support limiting senior researchers’ access to the Discovery Indigenous scheme as they play an important role in capacity development.

The ARC will:

  • investigate the weighting of Discovery Indigenous scheme selection criteria to ensure the importance of mentoring is addressed appropriately
  • engage in a targeted communication strategy to (see Recommendation 3):
    • promote understanding of the potential role of Partner Investigators and the availability of support for honours students under the scheme
    • encourage universities to promote their small grant programs to  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers
  • consider whether ROPE adequately addresses the community responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and whether this should be specifically added to Instructions to Applicants as an item that might be addressed in applications.

Recommendation 2: Stakeholder communication

The purpose of Discovery Indigenous as the ARC’s principal form of support for Indigenous researchers needs to be better communicated and pathways through other schemes articulated. It is recommended that:

  • a short clear statement of the purpose and rationale for Discovery Indigenous, especially following changes, be published and widely circulated to Indigenous researchers;
  • data relating to Indigenous researchers and research supported by the ARC be regularly collected, analysed and published;
  • a group of dedicated Future Fellowships for Indigenous researchers should be introduced;
  • One dedicated and named Laureate Fellowship should be supported; and
  • the overall size of the Indigenous assessor data base for Indigenous researchers and research should be increased to improve its robustness and capacity to deal with the growing number and breadth of applications.

ARC response

The ARC notes the elements of this recommendation and supports the recommendation to better communicate the ARC’s support for Indigenous researchers through the Discovery Indigenous scheme and other funding schemes of the National Competitive Grants Program.

The ARC notes that the Discovery Indigenous scheme is just one element of the ARC’s support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. All ARC schemes are open to applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers.

The ARC publishes information about the Discovery Indigenous scheme on its website. The ARC will review its website to ensure the information published is clear and visible and provide additional data about support for researchers and research.

Analysis of applications received under the Future Fellowships and Australian Laureate Fellowship schemes shows participation rates are low. The ARC will work to increase applications as part of a longer term strategy in this area.

The ARC will:

  • prepare a targeted communication strategy to support participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers in all NCGP schemes;
  • identify methods to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to become assessors; and
  • develop options for dealing with conflict of interest issues in time for next version of guidelines, including issues that may arise because of the gender balance on committees.

Recommendation 3: Research Office engagement

The ARC needs to build closer partnerships with supportive and successful research offices, and to extend these relationships to all Eligible Organisations.

  • The ARC should improve awareness of ‘outlier assessment’, the use of ‘Requests Not to Assess’, and explain how individual assessments impact on the final rankings.
  • The ARC should encourage ‘best practice’ to support Indigenous applicants at all Eligible Organisations, to better inform and support Indigenous researchers.
  • The ARC should establish a website specific to Indigenous researchers and research to provide information, data, contacts and case studies, as well as to showcase successful Indigenous researchers and research.

ARC response

The ARC supports the recommendation to build closer partnerships with Research Offices and the specific suggestions identified.

The ARC is committed to ensuring that there is clear and comprehensive information available to all participants about its funding schemes and that its peer review processes are transparent.

The ARC acknowledges that all Research Offices have an important role to play in understanding, communicating and promoting information about ARC schemes (including Discovery Indigenous), and implementing strategies and ensuring institutional support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants.

Currently the ARC has a webpage that provides information specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and links to information on the Discovery Indigenous scheme. There is also a range of information provided about the ARC’s peer review processes.

The ARC will:

  • as part of a targeted communication strategy, identify opportunities to engage with Research Office staff about ways of promoting and raising awareness and the profile of the Discovery Indigenous scheme and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers at all levels under all NCGP funding schemes;
  • seek feedback from Research Offices about information which may assist them in engaging with Indigenous researchers; and
  • raise the prominence of the Indigenous webpage on the ARC website.

Recommendation 4: Community relationships

Community relationships with Indigenous researchers, and in particular non-Indigenous researchers (in the design, the research process and in assessing its impact), needs to be integral to peer review funding proposal assessment.

  • That ARC defines specific Indigenous community benefit outcomes to outweigh, if necessary, national benefit and current research priorities.
  • Appropriate community involvement in project design, undertaking the research and assessing its subsequent impact on community life should be mandatory.
  • The ARC requests, if practicable, the Australian Bureau of Statistics to amend its Field of Research Codes to better represent and capture Indigenous research.

ARC response

The ARC notes the recommendation about community relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and the specific suggestions identified.

As noted in Section 3, the ARC requires recipients of ARC funding to comply with relevant principles guiding research including those for conduct of Indigenous research.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is currently coordinating a review of document Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research (2003). Developed by an NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee, the document provides guidance to researchers and Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) on the complex considerations necessary in the conception, design and conduct of appropriate research in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The ARC and Universities Australia have participated in the development of the revised guidelines with a view that the final revised guidelines will be jointly published by all three organisations.

The ARC has liaised with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) about changes to the Field of Research codes. ABS requires additional funding to be able to review the codes.

The ARC will:

  • include references to the new guidelines as appropriate in next grant guidelines; and
  • publish NCGP data about research projects identifying one of the six-digit FoR or SEO codes considered relevant to Indigenous research (Reference 4).

6. Summary of ARC actions

Summary of report findings and recommendation, proposed ARC action and timing

Main finding 1

Ongoing

  • continue to monitor the performance of the NCGP against the goal of population parity. The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers as a proportion of total researchers supported under the NCGP is identified as a measure in the ARC Corporate Plan and will be reported against in the ARC Annual Report

Recommendation 1

August 2018 for 2018 Discovery Program grant guidelines

  • look at the weighting of Discovery Indigenous scheme assessment criteria to ensure the importance of mentoring is addressed appropriately

December 2018

  • as part of a targeted communication strategy (see Recommendation 3):
    • promote understanding of the potential role of Partner Investigators and the availability of support for honours students under the scheme
    • encourage universities to promote their small grant programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers

August 2018 for 2018 Discovery Program grant guidelines

  • consider whether ROPE adequately addresses the community responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and whether this should be specifically added to Instructions to Applicants as an item that might be addressed in applications

Recommendation 2

December 2018

  • prepare a targeted communication strategy to support participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers in all NCGP schemes. Elements of the targeted strategy will include:
    • specific messaging encouraging participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers in all ARC funding schemes, including Future Fellowships and Australian Laureate Fellowships
    • publication of a short statement of the purpose and rationale for the Discovery Indigenous scheme to be widely circulated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers
    • publication of additional data about ARC support for  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and research
    • maintenance of a prominent webpage specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and research to provide information, data, contacts and case studies, as well as to showcase successful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and research

December 2018

  • identify methods to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to become assessors

December 2018

  • develop options for dealing with conflict of interest issues in time for next version of guidelines, including issues that may arise because of the gender balance on committees

Recommendation 3

December 2018

  • as part of a targeted communication strategy, identify opportunities to engage with Research Office staff about ways of promoting and raising awareness and the profile of the Discovery Indigenous 

December 2018

  • seek feedback from Research Offices about information which may assist them in engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers

Completed

  • raise the prominence of the Indigenous webpage on the ARC website

Recommendation 4

August 2018 for 2018 Discovery Program grant guidelines 

  • include references to the new guidelines (Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research) as appropriate in next grant guidelines

July 2018

  • publish NCGP data about research projects identifying one of the six-digit FoR or SEO codes considered relevant to Indigenous research (See References Section)

Appendix 1: Terms of Reference

Evaluation of ARC National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) support for Indigenous Australian researchers and research
Indigenous Australian researchers

  • Assess the effectiveness of the performance of the NCGP in supporting high-quality outcomes for Indigenous Australian researchers. If and where any shortcomings in effectiveness are identified, canvass options for improvement.
  • Assess whether there are any barriers to meeting demand from high-quality Indigenous Australian applicants for NCGP funding. If and where barriers are identified, canvass options for their removal.

Indigenous Australian research

  • Assess the capacity of the NCGP to support Indigenous Australian research methods and knowledges.  If and where any shortcomings in capacity are identified, canvass options for improvement.
  • Assess the extent to which the interests of Indigenous Australian communities in the administration of the NCGP are accommodated. If and where any shortcomings in accommodation are identified, canvass options for improvement.

Benchmarking, monitoring and evaluation

  • In undertaking the assessments that constitute this evaluation, take into account, where relevant, findings and recommendations of the report of the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and subsequent changes to administration of NCGP support for Indigenous Australian researchers and research, with a view to establishing benchmarks as a basis for future monitoring and evaluation.

Appendix 2: The Australian Research Council

The ARC is a Commonwealth entity within the Australian Government. The ARC’s purpose is to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community through funding the highest quality research, assessing the quality, engagement and impact of research and providing advice on research matters.

The ARC funds research and researchers under the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP). The NCGP consists of two elements—Discovery and Linkage. Within these elements are a range of schemes structured to provide a pathway of incentives for researchers to build the scope and scale of their work and collaborative partnerships. The majority of funding decisions under the NCGP are made on the basis of peer review.

Support for Indigenous researchers and research under the NCGP

Indigenous researchers

The ARC established a statement of support and action plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers in 2017. The statement is updated annually.

Under the NCGP:

  • eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers may, through an eligible organisation, apply for funding under all funding schemes
  • the Discovery Indigenous scheme provides funding to Administering Organisations to support research projects in any discipline, led by an Indigenous Australian researcher, independently or in collaboration with others, including non-Indigenous researchers
  • a Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (DAATSIA) may be awarded in conjunction with a Discovery Indigenous project. The Award provides salary support, at one of five salary levels, commensurate with Levels A to E appointments for one to five years, for an eligible Indigenous Australian researcher
  • Discovery Indigenous scheme funding is also provided to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher degree by research students, early career researchers and, uniquely under the NCGP, to support honours students; recognising the importance of building Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the research workforce and research capacity
  • in addition to the full cohort of Australian universities; AIATSIS and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education are both Eligible Organisations under all NCGP funding schemes (except Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects and certain Special Research Initiatives where (depending on the initiative) specific eligible organisations may be identified)
  • under the Linkage Program schemes, the ARC requires eligible organisations, including universities to partner with other organisations (including industry, Government, and non- profit) which provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to participate on research projects, centres and hubs
  • the ARC conducted a selection round under the Special Research Initiatives scheme for an Indigenous network commencing in 2012. Funding for the successful network – NIRAKN – will finish in June 2018.

Indigenous research
Under the NCGP:

  • the ARC supports all fields of research, except Medical Research (as defined under the ARC Medical Research Policy);
  • all proposals and ARC-funded projects must confirm to the principles, as applicable, outlined in:
  • NHMRC Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (2003)
  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies (2012)
  • Australia Council for the Arts Indigenous Cultural Protocols for Producing Indigenous Australian Music, Writing, Visual Arts, Media Arts, and Performing Arts (2007);
  • the ARC supports research under the Australian Government’s Science and Research Priorities one of which is Health. One of the Challenges under the Health priority is ‘better health outcomes for Indigenous people, with strategies for both urban and regional communities’.

Monitoring and reporting

To assist the ARC in monitoring the performance of its funding schemes in supporting Indigenous researchers and research, the ARC asks researchers applying for funding to identify:

  • their Indigenous status (RMS person profile);
  • the FOR and SEO codes relevant to their proposed research projects (application);
  • their gender (RMS person profile);
  • whether their proposed research is interdisciplinary (application); and
  • whether their proposed research involves Science and Research Priorities (application).


The accuracy of the ARC’s monitoring activities is dependent on the extent to which Indigenous researchers choose to identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in their RMS person profile. Responding to this question is currently voluntary.

Consolidated Discovery Indigenous scheme statistics are published on the ARC website.

Timeline of ARC activities

1996

  • Established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers Development Program

2002

  • Established Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development (DIRD) scheme

2003

  • Established Research Cadetship–Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • (RC-ATSI) within the DIRD scheme

2005

  • Renamed RC-ATSIs as Indigenous Researcher Fellowships (IRF)

2008

  • Australian Government announced  A Fair Go for Indigenous Researchers (July 2008) (Reference 6)

2009

  • Held workshop of Indigenous representatives to provide advice to ERA (February)
  • Established Australian Research Fellowship–Indigenous (ARF-I) in response to 2008 announcement
  • Introduced the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) as an Eligible Organisation (Reference 7)
  • Introduced ‘Indigenous health and wellbeing’ as a targeted priority area under the Future Fellowships scheme

2010

  • Held workshop to discuss possible changes to the DIRD scheme for implementation in 2011 (for funding commencing in 2012) (November 2010)
  • Appointed Professor Peter Buckskin as member of Advisory Council
  • First and subsequent ERA submissions included flagging of Indigenous research content

2012

  • Established Special Research Initiative for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers Network
  • Established new Discovery Indigenous (IN) scheme (Reference 8)
  • Australian Government released outcomes of Review of access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

2016

  • Renamed Discovery Indigenous Awards (DIAs) as Discovery Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards (DAATSIAs)

2017

  • Piloted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research as its own discipline for EI and held a workshop with Indigenous researchers to advise on EI for 2018
  • Commissioned evaluation of ARC support for Indigenous Research and Researchers  (finalised September 2017)
  • Released first ARC Statement of Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Researchers (February)

2018

  • Appointed a panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and research end-users to assess in EI
  • Conducted workshop involving Indigenous representatives to consider outcomes of evaluation
  • Established Discovery Indigenous Advisory Committee to evaluate IN proposals

Appendix 3: References

  1. 2016 Census, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. Department of Education and Training, Higher Education Staff data collection
  3. Selected Higher Education statistics 2016, student data
  4. Behrendt, Larissa (Chair) Steven Larkin, Robert Griew and Patricia Kelly (2012) Review of Higher Education access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Final Report 
  5. Indigenous research classification codes: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) (2008) (page 14 and 137) and predecessor codes

    Type

    Code

    Name

    FOR08

    050201

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge

    FOR08

    080601

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Information and Knowledge Systems

    FOR08

    080701

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledge Management

    FOR08

    110403

    Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicine and Treatments

    FOR08

    111701

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

    FOR08

    130301

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education

    FOR08

    160501

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy

    FOR08

    169902

    Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society

    FOR08

    180101

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law

    FOR08

    190401

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Performing Arts

    FOR08

    200201

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies

    FOR08

    200319

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages

    FOR08

    200501

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature

    FOR08

    210101

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology

    FOR08

    210301

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History

    SEO08

    920301

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health

    SEO08

    920302

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health Status and Outcomes

    SEO08

    920303

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health System Performance

    SEO08

    920399

    Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified

    SEO08

    939901

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education

    SEO08

    940102

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development and Welfare

    SEO08

    950302

    Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage

  6. A Fair go for Indigenous Researchers detailed new public funding arrangements that would increase opportunities for Indigenous Australians pursuing research careers, as well as initiatives that would enhance support in Indigenous studies research.
  7.  AIATSIS was originally introduced as an Eligible Organisation under all ARC funding schemes with the exception of the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme.
  8. Under the new Discovery Indigenous scheme: the fellowships (Indigenous Researcher Fellowships and Australian Research Fellowships Industry were replaced with Discovery Indigenous Awards available at five academic salary levels; the selection criteria were revised to reflect those used in Discovery Projects; and a new requirement for the first named Chief Investigator to be an Indigenous Australian was introduced.