A new Turnbull Government initiative will ensure universities are focused on the impact of the $3.5 billion Australian taxpayers invest in research.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said following the Engagement and Impact Assessment pilot this year, the Turnbull Government and Australian Research Council (ARC) had outlined new measures that focus on the impact of university research and engagement with business and industry.

“Taxpayers expect to see how their investment in research is paying dividends,” Minister Birmingham said.

“These new Engagement and Impact Assessment measures will give us a clearer view of what Australian researchers are achieving but will also help focus some of our brightest minds on how to help families and businesses.

“Research is about discovery, but it also needs to be about directly tackling some of the issues Australia faces.

“We want to keep universities focused on research that has wider economic and social benefits.

“Our researchers are among the world’s leaders but we lag when it comes to university and industry collaboration.

“By ensuring researchers outline the way they’re engaging with businesses and industry and assessing the impact their work is having, these new measures will act as an incentive to drive more of that valuable work.

Minister Birmingham said the Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018 was a direct result of the Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

“We’ve taken the time to work with the different universities, research groups and business and industry groups to ensure we get robust measures of engagement and impact without putting too much administrative burden on universities,” Minister Birmingham said.

“I’d like to thank the ARC for helping drive the development of this new assessment as well as all of the universities and groups that contributed to this year’s pilot.”

The Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018 will feature low, medium and high rating scales determined by expert review panels based on a combination of case studies and metric indicators including:

  • Measuring engagement through cash support from end-users such as businesses as well as how much those end-users invest in sponsoring research
  • How much income has been made by commercialising research and how much income is made per researcher
  • Details of what universities are doing to facilitate impacts of research
  • Requiring explanations of how research has engaged end-users and how work has had an impact in simple, plain English.

For further information about the Engagement and Impact Assessment, please visit the ARC website.