ACDS submission to the ARC’s Policy Review of the NCGP

Acds Submission

The Australian Council of Deans of Science Inc. (ACDS) made a submission to the ARC’s Policy Review of the National Competitive Grants Program. The detailed submission followed consultation with ACDS member university Science Deans (or equivalent), the full submission is available here.

The ACDS welcomed the ARC’s policy review of the NCGP and supported the draft objectives proposed for the NCGP in the consultation Discussion Paper. In responding to specific questions posed the ACDS submission emphasised the following points:

Grant Program Structure

Maintaining the integrity and distinction of the Discovery and Linkage programs is essential to ensure continued support for both basic and translational research. The ACDS advocates streamlining the funding schemes within each program to manage declining success rates and overlap with schemes managed by other agencies.

Funding and Impact Assessment

To increase the effectiveness of the NCGP and foster high-calibre research that maximises benefits for Australia, the ACDS recommends reviewing the weightings and application of selection criteria to ensure they support funding scheme objectives.

Interdisciplinary Research, Coordination and Collaboration

We urge the promotion of interdisciplinary research through a dedicated new scheme, with improved coordination among other funders, both locally and internationally. To foster innovation, the ACDS suggests revising eligibility rules to allow industry organisations to lead applications for key schemes. Such reforms would complement other government initiatives aimed at providing opportunities for early- and mid-career researchers to advance their careers beyond academia.

Indigenous Research and Researchers

Supporting indigenous researchers and recognising their unique needs and contributions will advance Australian research. Augmenting the current programs and financial commitment, the ACDS proposes setting annual targets for the number of grants and the total investment in indigenous research.

International Collaborations

The ARC has considerable potential to proactively enhance international collaborations beyond current arrangements. The ACDS encourages establishing joint research funding initiatives with bilateral partners while participating in multilateral funding programs. Modest investments from the Discovery or Linkage programs in international initiatives leverage international funding, significantly amplifying the investment and its impact.

The PDF copy of the ACDS full submission is available here