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Quality and impact of our university research must always be the priority

A review into the way in which our university research is assessed by Government underscores the critical importance of both excellence and impact of our national research effort.

The final report of the review of Australia’s primary university research assessment exercises Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and Engagement and Impact (EI) has now been released.

“Representing Australia’s leading research-intensive universities which undertake almost 70 percent of Australian university research and with more than 99% of that research rated above world-standard by ERA, the Go8 is pleased to see the renewed commitment to excellence and impact in the recommendations of the report,” said Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson.

“As the nation’s heavy lifters when it comes to quality research with impact, we were particularly pleased that many of the recommendations we had made have been picked up in the review process.

“These included measures to reduce the administrative burden of ERA and increase its transparency. It is critical that ERA is as light-touch as possible for universities while casting a spotlight on both where Australia has the highest level of research excellence and the volume of that excellence. In this way, ERA will be better equipped to reflect the differentiation and specialisation of our universities when it comes to research performance.

“Government and taxpayers should be confident that they are getting bang for their buck and these exercises ensure that is the case.

“Importantly, in accepting the recommendations of the review and publishing an action plan, the ARC has affirmed a commitment to continuing to work with us to ensure continual improvement to ERA and EI. This ensures that the ERA and EI can stay aligned with international best practice and understandings of research excellence. As the research and university landscape in Australia continues to evolve it is vital that Australia’s primary research assessment tools remain fit for purpose.

“This is particularly important, given the recent introduction of enhanced research performance requirements in the Threshold Standards for universities and the need to benchmark rigorously against these standards. Only in this way can we ensure that Australia’s university sector remains world-leading.

“For its part, the Go8 is committed to working with the ARC and the sector to achieve these goals.

“Finally, I would like to express the thanks of the Go8 to the Advisory Committee who diligently undertook the review of ERA and EI and, in particular, to the Chair of the Committee Emeritus Professor Mike Brooks,” said Ms Thomson.

Source: Group of Eight

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