New Inquiry into Australian Research Funding

Late last week the House Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Training announced it would inquire into and report on the efficiency, effectiveness and coherency of Australian Government funding for research. The inquiry will focus on federally funded research agencies, their funding mechanisms and university collaborative research.

Chair of the House Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Training, Mr Andrew Laming MP, said that the Committee would seek to identify opportunities to improve how
research funding is administered, in the following terms:

  • The diversity, fragmentation and efficiency of research investment across the Australian Government, including the range of programs, guidelines and methods of assessment of grants;
  • The process and administrative role undertaken by research institutions, in particular universities, in developing and managing applications for research funding;
  • The effectiveness and efficiency of operating a dual funding system for university research, namely competitive grants and performance-based block grants to cover systemic costs of research; and
  • Opportunities to maximise the impact of funding by ensuring optimal simplicity and efficiency for researchers and research institutions while prioritising delivery of national priorities and public benefit.

Notably, the National Health and Medical Research Council and non-federal sources of research funding are not subject to inquiry.

The Government’s media release is available here.