Submission: Go8 response to the new research block grant arrangements for universities Consultation Paper – May 2016 Introduction

29 Jul 2016

The Group of Eight (Go8) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Department of Education and Training consultation on the implementation on new research block grant arrangements for universities.As the consultation is highly technical in nature the Go8 response will be limited to key points and some additional specific issues from the consultation paper identified as important. Individual Go8 institutions may provide specific feedback to the full range of consultation questions.

Go8 Key Points

  1. Simplification of the research support block grants. The Go8 supports the increased transparency and the clear incentives in the simplification and flexibility of the new research block grant for research support. 
     
  2. Low indirect cost funding. The Go8 remains concerned that the level of funding in the Competitive or Excellence portion of the Research Support Program represents a level of support for the indirect costs of undertaking Australian Competitive Grants research that is unsustainably low.
     
  3. Extra research block grant funding. The Go8 applauds the injection by the Government of an additional $50 million each calendar year indexed from 2017 through the Research Support Program to increase incentives for engagement with business and end-users.
     
  4. The removal of ERA performance as a funding driver. One of the stated key objectives of the current reforms is to support the delivery of world class research. As such, results from Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) – Australia’s respected international benchmarking of research performance – should be a key indicator in the Research Support Program block grant.

​The previous use of ERA in the allocation of (part of) the SRE block grant was cumbersome and opaque and the current reforms seem to be a missed opportunity to include ERA performance in a simplified and more meaningful manner.

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