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ARC Research Funding and Museums

Recent changes by the Australian Research Council (ARC) to eligibility guidelines for ARC Discovery Projects and ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) threaten to undermine the output of museum researchers.

Australian museums undertake cutting-edge, internationally competitive, independent research across a broad range of areas in the sciences and the humanities.

Museum research also contributes to National Research Priorities particular in areas  such as biodiversity, climate change, biosecurity, smart information use,  understanding our region and the world, Indigenous culture and contemporary museum studies.

Much of this research is based on our unique collection assets and is significantly different from university-based research or covers research topics that are insufficiently represented at Australia’s other research institutions.

Recent Changes

The changes introduced by the ARC remove the ability for museum researchers, many of whom are internationally-recognised experts, to apply as Chief Investigators for funding under the Discovery granting schemes.   They will be forced to apply as partner investigators, under the direction of university-based academics.  In addition, museum-based early career researchers will be prevented from continuing their research in museums through restrictions in the DECRA scheme

CAMD believes that the changes will significantly reduce the capacity of Australian museums to recruit new, high-potential scientists, especially early career and international researchers .  More importantly, it will diminish the research competitiveness of Australian museums and the Australian research community.

CAMD is currently seeking a reversal of these changes to allow museum eligibility for Discovery grants to be reintroduced.


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