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Universities Australia is concerned by revelations that 11 highly-recommended applications for Australian Research Council (ARC) funding were vetoed by the former Education Minister.

In Senate Estimates hearings late last night, the ARC confirmed that the applications were successful following the council’s rigorous peer-review process but were rejected by the Education Minister in 2017 and early 2018.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said funding of research must be free of political intervention.

"You don't expect the Federal Sports Minister to choose Australia's Olympic team. In the same way, we rely on subject experts to judge the best research in their field, not politicians.”

“Our world-leading researchers depend on an impartial system that funds research on the basis of merit - this is why we rely on the competitive peer-review system to fund the highest quality applications."

“The current system is internationally-recognised as the best practice process for awarding research grants.”

"Political interference in funding decisions undermines the integrity of the system."

“A funding process that is clear and transparent is fundamental to the ability of universities to carry out research for the benefit of the community.”

Universities Australia Media Contacts

Misha Schubert
02 6285 8133
Mobile: 0421 612 351

Bella Counihan
Ph: 02 6285 8123
Mobile: 0419 212 219 
James Giggacher
Ph: 02 6285 8118
Mobile: 0413 665 143

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