Under the scheme, universities will document the enormous social and economic contribution made by our nation’s world-class university research.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said the new assessment tool had incorporated important feedback from the sector and presents an opportunity to better inform the public about the difference that our publicly funded research makes to all our lives.
“There are tens of thousands of stories of how new knowledge developed in universities has given back to the Australian community, the national economy and the world – and these are stories worth telling,” Ms Robinson said.
“Many already know about university inventions like Gardasil or spray-on skin, but there are so many more gems that are certain to be unearthed,” she said.
“Of course, every story will be different and the new assessment tool gives universities the flexibility to demonstrate the impact and relevance of their research.”
Ms Robinson said it was disappointing to see media reports that seek to diminish the research endeavour when there is so much there for every Australian to be proud of.
“The research funding system involves extensive peer review, such that 80 per cent of applicants are not funded. This means that only the very best research is funded.”
This process, together with the Excellence in Research for Australia assessment framework, means that every Australian can be confident in the high quality of Australian research – both pure and applied.
The value of all knowledge generated by university research was estimated at $160 billion in 2014 – equivalent to almost 10 per cent of Australia’s GDP.
Ms Robinson said she hoped the new assessment process would further demonstrate to business groups the advantages of partnering with a university to make new products and processes.
“Unfortunately, the incentives for universities to engage with business are not yet matched by policy settings that encourage business to reach into the vast expertise that sits within our universities,” she said.
“Addressing this part of the equation is particularly important given the decline in industry investment in research despite over $3 billion in tax breaks.”
The Australian Research Council’s Engagement and Impact Assessment follows a pilot scheme run this year in the majority of universities. The full assessment will begin in 2018.