AAMRI submission to the inquiry into Funding Australia’s Research

AAMRI submission to the inquiry into Funding Australia’s Research

AAMRI’s submission explores Australia’s research funding system and puts forward recommendations on how we can make it more efficient to achieve better research outcomes. It examines support systems for systemic research costs, and finds that current systems are inefficient, inequitable, and do not provide enough funding to cover the total costs incurred. The submission also examines illogical program rules in the ARC and CRC programs that are weakening our national research effort by excluding some of Australia’s top talent. Finally, it makes for continued use of expert reviews to ensure best value for money is gained from our investment in research.

Recommendations in the submission

  1. The level of support provided for systemic costs of research should be the same irrespective whether a university, hospital or medical research institute is undertaking the research.
  2. Funding for systemic costs of research should be pooled and allocated by one central government agency across all research disciplines, schemes and organisation types to ensure a consistent and streamlined approach.
  3. Adequate support must be provided for systemic costs of research as well as the direct costs of research. This should be achieved by increasing the quantum of funding available for systemic costs of research.
  4. The arbitrary $30 million non-indexed cap on support for systemic costs of research through NHMRC IRIISS should be lifted, and the total support available through the scheme provided with inflationary increases.
  5. Support for systemic costs of research associated with MRFF funded research should be provided at a level that is at least the equivalent to that provided for NHMRC funded research.
  6. Researchers at medical research institutes should be allowed to compete for ARC funding on the basis of excellence, rather than be held back by arbitrary rules.
  7. An administrative change to the CRC Program rules should be made to allow medical research institutes to be recognised as an eligible publicly funded research organisation.
  8. Expert review processes should continue to be used to inform research funding decisions within the ARC and NHMRC programs.
  9. Appropriate competitive processes that utilise expert review mechanisms should be used to guide research funding decisions within the MRFF.

A copy of AAMRI’s submission is available below, and you can also find out further information in our media release.