Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) in 2020–21, representing approximately 6. 8 per cent of the Australian Government’s $11.9 billion investment in research and development. In 2021–22 the ARC will deliver over $814 million in NCGP funding to the research sector. As part of the ARC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put in place various support measures, such as extending application and eligibility timeframes for applicants, allowing grant recipients greater flexibility with post-award variations and allowing extensions to reporting deadlines. We are running grant selection meetings using videoconferencing, and most of our other outreach activities with external stakeholders have also shifted to an online format, with video messages recorded for opening events, and webinars held in lieu of our Research Administrators’ Seminar and induction forums. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our community of peer reviewers who continue to provide their expertise, time, and commitment to ensure the continuity of our robust peer review process which underpins the NCGP. Each year, these reviewers submit around 20,000 assessments providing an outstanding service to the ARC and greater research community. We also understand the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on the research sector and we commit to monitoring the ongoing impact and making further modifications as required to support our peer reviewers. Recognising once again, the potential for foreign interference in relation to ARC grants, we have strengthened our due diligence across our grant application processes, administration of existing ARC projects and appointment of ARC committee members. We will continue to engage with other government agencies and universities in relation to those arrangements.
As the accountable authority of the Australian Research Council (ARC), I am pleased to present the Australian Research Council Corporate Plan 2021–22, prepared for the 2021–22 reporting period and covering the period 2021–22 to 2024–25, as required under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The corporate plan is the ARC’s key planning document that details how we intend to deliver on our purpose, including the key activities we will undertake and the measures that will determine how well we perform over the next 4 years. This plan, alongside the portfolio budget statements and annual report, illustrates the ARC strategic direction and performance framework for 2021–22 and beyond.
Professor Sue Thomas, ARC CEO
2021 marks 20 years since the ARC was established as an independent body under the Australian Research Council Act 2001. It comes after an extraordinary year in which the COVID-19 pandemic created a uniquely challenging and unprecedented environment across the world, with significant impacts for the ARC, and the Australian and international research communities. Despite these challenges, we continued to deliver our grant schemes to the research sector with over a thousand new projects commencing in 2021 and supporting research across all disciplines at universities around Australia, on all scales, from fellowships and blue-sky basic research to large multi-university industry-focused collaborations 1 . The ARC provided approximately $807 million in research funding through the National
1 Noting the ARC does not support pre-clinical and clinical health and medical research, which is primarily supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL Corporate Plan 2021–22
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