Australian Research Council Corporate Plan 2021–22

The ARC remains committed to improving the way our data can be viewed and used. Building on the success of our data visualisation for the NCGP, ERA National Report and the Gender and the Research Workforce Report in the past year, the ARC will further develop interactive data displays and other data products to improve accessibility for internal and external users. Currently data trends, available on the ARC website, can be explored through visualisations powered by Microsoft Power BI. Another significant project for the ARC in 2021–22 will be implementing the outcomes from the review of Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and Engagement and Impact (EI). The reviewmade 22 recommendations to improve the value of ERA and EI, streamline the evaluation processes and ensure they continue to reflect world’s best practice in research assessment. The next round of ERA will be in 2023 with EI in 2024, and the ARC will focus on working with universities to implement the changes that will take place for these rounds as well as the subsequent assessments. As we look ahead, the ARC will continue to navigate through the challenging and rapidly changing environment, and fund research that is contributing to the benefit of Australians. The ARC will support the Australian research community through its competitive grant opportunities, supporting thousands of research careers, funding the latest equipment and infrastructure, and developing policies that ensure Australia remains a world leader in research excellence and innovation.

Another initiative introduced last year by the ARC was the provision of a grants administration service offered to other Australian Government entities focused on managing grant programs for the university and research sector. As a specialist provider of research-based grants management services, we offer our bespoke Research Management System (RMS) to enable streamlined, consistent grants administration and management of its peer review assessment processes, achieving efficiencies for government, and drawing on the technical capability, experience, and expertise of the ARC to help ensure that the best research and researchers are funded. Research Grants Services will be further expanded to continue to support the identification and administration of excellent research funded by the broader Commonwealth. The ARC has an important role in advancing diversity and inclusion in Australia’s research workforce, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Through the research workforce policy framework, the ARC uses eligibility and assessment criteria to facilitate equitable access to the NCGP for eligible researchers, particularly those in under-represented groups, including women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. The ARC’s commitment to equity and diversity encompasses all ARC business activities. This year we are pleased to note that the membership of the ARC College of Experts (College) is approaching gender parity, increasing from 28.7 per cent women in 2016 to 48 per cent in 2021. College members, who are experts of international standing, have a key role in identifying research excellence through the ARC’s peer review processes. Through these processes the ARC funds the highest quality researchers, and it is significant to note that under most NCGP schemes the success rates for women are comparable to, or exceed, the success rates for men, despite the appreciable disparity in participation rates. The ARC has recently released an updated Gender Equality Statement, which sets out the ARC’s commitment to supporting gender equality in the Australian research sector. This includes an overview of mechanisms available under the NCGP to support women’s participation in ARC schemes; engagement in the research sector by the ARC, and by ARC supported researchers, to support gender equality; and a range of gender data insights, analysis and reporting, including participation and success rates under the NCGP and across the sector.

Professor Sue Thomas Chief Executive Officer



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