“Australia has long benefitted from having one of the world’s best research systems – keeping it that way is in the nation’s best interest,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“A strong and independent Australian Research Council is central to this.
“We are best served by a system with strong governance, peer review and genuine transparency at its core and we are pleased that the recommendations to government support these needs.
“Past interventions have eroded confidence in our research program and our reputation for research excellence. We have an opportunity now to right those wrongs.
“The panel has acknowledged this and backed a rigorous process with the establishment of an ARC Board with decision-making power on grant funding in response to merit-based recommendations.
“The panel has struck the right balance in limiting the ‘ministerial veto power’ for use only when national security is concerned – with an appropriate level of transparency.
“Universities are partners of government in supporting Australia’s interests and this is no exception.
“Australia is in a period of uncertainty. Our ability to navigate what’s in front of us hinges on our capacity to undertake world-class research – from tackling the energy transition to supporting AUKUS.
“The expert panel, led by Professor Margaret Sheil with Professors Mark Hutchinson and Susan Dodds, has provided a path forward for the ARC and we look forward to a favourable government response.
“We thank the panel for its hard work in preparing and delivering this report and look forward to engaging with government to support our research future.”