Australian Research Council Corporate Plan 2021–22


Since 2020 the ARC has continued to enhance its customised research management system and to expand its capacity in the offering of Research Grants Services, providing research grants administration for other government entities. Research Grants Services is consistent with whole-of-Australian Government grants administration initiatives and positions the ARC as a leader in the delivery of research grant programs in Australia, providing increased efficiency and assurance for users of the service, and for grant recipients. In an environment where there is much global uncertainty, the ARC continues to support international research collaboration as it provides Australia with access to the best research and researchers in the world. In doing so, the ARC has introduced measures to enhance the transparency of interests of researchers involved in ARC funded projects and other ARC activities. The ARC will continue to work closely with the research sector and with its government counterparts to support the implementation of the Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian Higher Education Sector , developed by the University Foreign Interference Taskforce. In the current environment, the ARC is especially aware of its reliance on a healthy research sector to deliver its core purpose. In return, the ARC is committed to providing Australia’s research community with the support it needs to remain as a significant player in the world’s innovation system, and power Australia’s industries and the community with the knowledge and expertise that is necessary to remain competitive internationally.

Australian research groups have contributed to the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the strength of the sector, and its ability to respond with innovations during an unprecedented global crisis. ARC funding, while typically excluding pre-clinical and clinical health and medical research, has nonetheless supported some of this important fundamental research related to COVID-19. For instance, at the outset of the pandemic, ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor Edward Holmes at The University of Sydney was the first scientist in the world to publish the genomic sequence of the COVID-19 virus, while a research team at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging used the Australian Synchrotron to characterise COVID-19 proteins at the molecular level in 3D. ARC funding support is an inspiration for many research groups and researchers at a time when Australian universities are managing the impacts of COVID-19 including a sharp decline in international students. Australian researchers are still braving many changes to the research environment, such as COVID-related travel restrictions which are hampering fieldwork and international travel. The ARC continues to acknowledge the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on the research sector and will continue to modify systems and processes to support funding during this difficult time. The ARC depends on the research community for its capability to deliver the NCGP and the ERA and EI assessments, as all rely upon the ARC’s peer review processes, in which subject matter experts within the research community provide comprehensive advice on complex and highly specialised research topics. The ARC also draws deeply from the expertise in the university sector and from a range of Australian research and innovation sector stakeholders when consulting on the development and delivery of our policies. The ARC will continue to find ways to support this important work, for example, through continual improvements to its online systems, the use of videoconferencing, and streamlining processes to minimise the burden for applicants and assessors.



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