Australian Research Council

Australian Research Council
Council overview
Formed2001; 23 years ago (2001)
JurisdictionAustralian Government
HeadquartersCanberra
Employees135
Annual budgetIncrease A$815 million (2020–21): 147 ,
Minister responsible
Council executive
  • Judith Zielke, CEO
Key document
Websitearc.gov.au

The Australian Research Council (ARC) is the primary non-medical research funding agency of the Australian Government, distributing more than A$800 million in grants each year. The Council was established by the Australian Research Council Act 2001, and provides competitive research funding to academics and researchers at Australian universities. Most health and medical research in Australia is funded by the more specialised National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which operates under a separate budget.

ARC does not directly fund researchers, but however allocates funds to individual schemes with specialised scopes, such as Discover (fundamental and empirical research) and Linkage (domestic and international collaborative projects). Most of these schemes fall under the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), whereby institutions must compete amongst each other for funding. ARC also administers the Excellence in Research for Australia framework (ERA), which provides guidelines to evaluate the quality of research. ARC Centres of Excellence, funded for a limited period, are collaborations established among Australian and international universities and other institutions to support research in a variety of fields.

Since 2011, ARC has awarded the annual Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship, which are research fellowships for female Australian and international researchers, intended to support innovative research programs and mentor early career researchers.

History and governance

The Australian Research Council superseded the Australian Research Grants Committee, which had been providing funding to Australian universities since 1965. It was formed in 1988 as a response to the Dawkins white paper, 'Higher Education: A policy statement', and was established as an independent body in 2001 under the Australian Research Council Act 2001.

As of 2021 the agency is administered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, headed by the Minister for Education and Youth.

The ARC's mission is to deliver policy and programs that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community. It supports research across all disciplines except clinical and other medical and dental research, for which the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is primarily responsible.[citation needed]

Research integrity

ARC updates its own Research Integrity Policy, which includes referral to the Australian Research Integrity Committee (ARIC) where necessary. 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.

Functional areas

National Competitive Grants Program

ARC funds research and researchers under the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP). Funding opportunities administered by the ARC include the Australian Laureate Fellowship.

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.

Excellence in Research for Australia

ARC administers Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), Australia's national research evaluation framework, which is tasked with identifying and promoting excellence across the full spectrum of research activity in higher education institutions in Australia.

Linkage program

The ARC runs various funding schemes under the banner of Linkage Programs, which encourage research collaborations between researchers and a range of different types of organisations, including private enterprise, community organisations and other research agencies. The Linkage programs include ARC Centres of Excellence, Linkage Projects, and Special Research Initiatives (SRI), including SRI Centres. Recent funding rounds have occurred in 2011, 2014, 2017, 2020, and 2023.

Centres of excellence

Funded by the ARC for a limited period (often seven years), Centres of Excellence (CoE) are large-scale, multi-institutional collaborations established among Australian and international universities, research organisations, governments and businesses, to support research across a number of fields.

Continuing centres include:

Past ARC Centres of Excellence include:

Gender equity

Since 2011, the Australian Research Council has awarded two research fellowships for female Australian and international researchers and research leaders to build Australia's research capacity, undertake innovative research programs and mentor early career researchers. The Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship is awarded to a candidate from the humanities, arts and social science disciplines and the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship is awarded to a candidate from the science and technology disciplines.

Year Kathleen Fitzpatrick Fellow Georgina Sweet Fellow
2011 Pippa Norris Mahananda Dasgupta
2012 Susan O'Connor Nalini Joshi
2013 Glenda Sluga Tanya Monro
2014 Joy Damousi Veena Sahajwalla, Kate Smith-Miles
2015 Anne Orford Leann Tilley
2016 Adrienne Stone, Sharon Parker Branka Vucetic
2017 Ann McGrath Michelle Coote
2018 Marilyn Fleer Christine Beveridge
2019 Lynette Russell Belinda Medlyn
2020 Maureen Dollard Catherine Lovelock
2021 Sundhya Pahuja Yun Liu
2022 Larissa Behrendt Joanne Etheridge

This page was last updated at 2024-04-01 10:19 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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