The ARC is committed to ensuring that all eligible researchers, irrespective of gender, have the opportunity to participate in National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) funding schemes. The ARC draws on the diversity and experience of the ARC Advisory Council, the ARC College of Experts and Selection Advisory Committee members, and research leaders (such as Australian Laureate Fellows) for advice on mechanisms to best support gender equality in all areas of research. 


Initiatives in Place

In support of its commitment the ARC:



Targeted awards

  • offers two named Australian Laureate Fellowships to successful female Australian Laureate Fellows. Recipients of these awards receive additional funding to undertake an ambassadorial role to promote women in research and to mentor early career researchers, particularly women, to encourage them to enter and establish careers in research in Australia.


  • has extended the timeframe of eligibility requirements for early-career awards and mid-career fellowships in acknowledgement of the impact of career interruptions, including those experienced as a result of maternity leave and caring responsibilities. Further information is provided in the ARC Policy Statement on Eligibility and Career Interruptions.


  • uses Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence (ROPE) as a selection criterion, to help mitigate the effect of career interruptions, including as a result of childbirth and caring responsibilities
  • provides guidance for members of the ARC College of Experts, assessors and applicants in respect of the application of ROPE
  • monitors and manages the gender balance of membership on ARC committees.

Conditions of award

  • provides opportunities for awards and fellowships under the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, Future Fellowships and Discovery Indigenous schemes
  • provides maternity and parental/partner leave in all fellowship and award schemes
  • requires new ARC Centres of Excellence to implement a Centre-specific equity plan
  • requires Industrial Transformation Research Hubs and Training Centres to implement a Hub/Centre specific equality plan
  • requires administering organisations, where relevant, to acknowledge and comply with their obligations under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012
  • expects administering organisations to have a gender policy in place
  • provides ‘reasonable essential extraordinary costs to allow an researcher who is a carer, or who themselves require care or assistance, to undertake travel essential to the Project’.

Monitoring / reporting

  • provides gender disaggregated data in scheme selection reports and other reporting mechanisms
  • monitors the gender outcomes of selection rounds to identify any issues arising.


  • works closely with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) with regard to policy and best practice processes in gender equality
  • participates in relevant forums in relation to women in research
  • highlights the topic of gender equality and women in research to the wider community.


Actions for 2018

In 2018 the ARC will:

  • finalise the review of the ARC Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence (ROPE) statement (including implementation in application, assessment and meeting processes)
  • investigate ways to increase the number of female assessors on ARC committees where there is a gender imbalance
  • identify initiatives to further improve the diversity of researchers in ARC Centres of Excellence commencing in 2020
  • undertake a review of the provisions, requirements and management of maternity leave and parental/partner leave under the NCGP.

The ARC will also continue to:

  • profile female researchers on its website, including (i) Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellows (ii) and females who have balanced family and research careers and successfully re-entered the research workforce from a career interruption
  • provide a report to administering institutions on the gender profile of researchers applying from the institution
  • monitor the gender balance of membership on ARC committees relative to the overall gender balance in particular research fields 
  • consider effective and efficient ways of implementing unconscious bias training for both general and detailed assessors
  • promote and engage with the sector about gender issues through ARC Executive presentations and participation of staff in relevant forums
  • hold an annual forum for Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellows
  • analyse NCGP gender data, including females by field of research over time, and consider NCGP gender data within the context of research data collected through Excellence in Research for Australia.