Australian Research Council

The Australian Research Council (ARC) is one of the Australian government's two main agencies for allocating research funding to academics and researchers at Australian universities. Its mission is to deliver policy and programs that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community.

The ARC supports fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines except clinical and other medical and dental research, for which the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is primarily responsible. Established as an independent body under the Australian Research Council Act 2001 the ARC reports to an Australian government minister, currently the minister for education and training. The ARC is the primary source of advice to the government on investment in the national research effort.

Functional areas

National Competitive Grants Program

The ARC funds research and researchers under the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP).

As part of its commitment to nurturing the creative abilities and skills of Australia's most promising researchers, the NCGP provides:

The NCGP comprises two main elements—Discovery and Linkage—under which the ARC funds a range of complementary schemes to support researchers at different stages of their careers, build Australia’s research capability, expand and enhance research networks and collaborations, and develop centres of research excellence.

The most recent annual report and corporate plan (formerly strategic plan) are available from the Publications section of the ARC website.ARC Grants Search is designed to make it easier for the public to find details about ARC-funded research projects since 2001, including electronic and paper-based research funding proposals.

Excellence in Research for Australia

The ARC administers Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), Australia’s national research evaluation framework. ERA identifies and promotes excellence across the full spectrum of research activity in higher education institutions.

ERA is a comprehensive quality evaluation of all research produced in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks. The ratings are determined and moderated by committees of distinguished researchers, drawn from Australia and overseas. The unit of evaluation is broadly defined as the field of research (FoR) within an institution based on the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification (ANZSRC).

ERA is based on expert review informed by a range of indicators. The indicators used in ERA include a range of metrics, such as citation profiles which are common to disciplines in the sciences, and peer review of a sample of research outputs, which is more common in the humanities and social sciences.

A set of discipline-specific indicators has been developed in close consultation with the research community. This approach ensures that the indicators used are both appropriate and necessary, which minimises the resourcing burden of ERA for government and universities, and ensures that ERA results are robust and broadly accepted.

The first full round of ERA occurred in 2010 and the results were published in early 2011. This was the first time a nationwide stock take of discipline strengths and areas for development had ever been conducted in Australia. There have been two subsequent rounds of ERA in 2012 and 2015.

Research integrity ARC-funded research is expected to comply with appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards in a research environment underpinned by a culture of integrity.

The Australian Research Integrity Committee (ARIC) is an independent body, jointly established by the ARC and the NHMRC, to provide a system to review institutional responses to allegations of research misconduct.

Assessment cycle—ARC research grants

Step 1, Funding rules

Step 2, Proposals

Step 3, Assessment

Step 4, Selection

Step 5, Approval of funding

External links

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