NEW ENGAGEMENT AND IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF RESEARCH

SENATOR THE HON KIM CARR.
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2 years ago
NEW ENGAGEMENT AND IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF RESEARCH
SENATOR THE HON KIM CARR
The release today of the Government’s new engagement and impact assessment of university research is nothing more than an inefficient and wasteful use of researchers’ time.

The new research assessment is a confused and contradictory piece of public policy, which will undermine research excellence and has only been done to appease the most reactionary elements of the right wing of the Liberal party.

It is untested, confusing and is not linked to funding.
It relies on a limited range of metrics which equates income from government grants and the private sector to engagement.

Some of the defining discoveries of our age – from Einstein’s theory of relativity, Niels Bohr’s work on quantum mechanics, and the discovery of Wi-Fi by the CSIRO - would not rate under this measure.

The engagement and impact assessment has all the hallmarks of a bureaucratic, half-baked scheme which the Australian Research Council has not been allowed to, nor has been give the time to try and get right.    

Labor does not need this flawed assessment to know that the funding the Commonwealth provides to universities is money well spent.

Labor continues to support ERA, a Labor initiative, which has been a success in driving a focus within Australian universities on excellence and gives the community confidence that taxpayers’ investment in research is money well spent.

The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government talks a big book on science and research, but the facts are very different.

The Science, Research and Innovation budget tables, released in October, showed the Liberals have reduced spending on science, research and innovation by $1.1 billion in real terms — a cut of 10 per cent over the past five years.

Bill Shorten has declared that if Labor wins the upcoming federal election we will end the Coalition’s war on science and research.

If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will:
  • Establish, for the first time in 20 years, a once in a generation, root-and-branch inquiry into strengthening our research capabilities across the whole of government.
  • Develop a charter with the Australian science and research community to establish the reciprocal roles, responsibilities and expectations of government and researchers.
  • Set a target to lift Australian spending on Research and Development from 1.8 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent and restore our international competiveness; and
  • Restore the integrity of the Australian Research Council, by ending politrcial interference in the grants process and  legislating a requirement that Ministers must table an explanation in Parliament within 15 sitting days of rejecting any recommendation of funding by the Chief Executive Office
Labor understands that to create good jobs and keep pace with rapid advances in technology, Australia must retain and expand our research and development capabilities. 
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