In its submission to the Department of Education and Training’s consultation paper on the proposed new research block grant arrangements, ABDC has raised concerns about some of the proposed funding measures and reporting requirements.
The Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) is concerned about some of the proposed funding measures and reporting requirements stemming from last year’s Watt Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements.
The ABDC’s response to the proposed new research block grant arrangements argues that ‘it is unreasonable for the proposed Research Support Program (RSP) to focus exclusively on prior research inputs and ignore past outcomes when considering future research funding’.
Publications may be an imperfect measure of outputs but they are the basis of the entrenched Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) framework. Therefore, the submission says, ERA should provide one form of evidence to demonstrate longer-term, research investment outcomes.
The ABDC also says, ‘block grant funding is effectively a function of prior earned research funding via category one competitive grants, and other research funding categories, which are presumed to be an indication of the level of industry engagement. This means that a critical input to future research (i.e. block grants) will rely on past inputs, with no explicit role for outputs’.
The submission also questions the viability of proposed reporting requirements, which appear to have an ‘impossible aim’ of identifying how incremental funding ‘changes things’.
‘Block Grants comprise only one part of the institutional funding mix that underlies research production, so it seems impractical to identify applications and outcomes with the proposed reporting requirements,’ the ABDC says.
However, the ABDC submission welcomes the proposal to:
- Simplify the block grant scheme to focus clearly on funding systemic research costs through the proposed Research Support Program (RSP)
- Fund research students through the proposed Research Training Program (RTP)
- Clearly identify determinants for allocating funds.
See full submission here