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Budget 2006: Moving towards a national system for assessing research quality.

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Moving towards a national system for assessing research quality

9 May 2006 BUD 20/06

Australia is moving towards a national Research Quality Framework (RQF) following the announcement of $3 million funding in the 2006-07 Budget. The RQF was announced by the Prime Minister in May 2004 and seeks to measure the quality and impact of research in universities and publicly funded research agencies.

The Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, said that once developed, the RQF will more readily identify and reward the highest quality research undertaken in Australia’s publicly funded research sector.

"It will also recognise research that provides significant broader impact to Australia, whether economic, social, environmental or cultural. The RQF will be the first research assessment exercise carried out internationally that considers research impact," Minister Bishop said.

"The RQF will bring Australia in line with other research-led economies and will fill the gap that currently exists where there is no system-wide or expert-based way to measure the quality and impact of Australian research."

The process for developing the RQF began when the Government established an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) to develop a preferred model for an Australian RQF. Minister Bishop formally received the EAG’s advice on 28 March 2006.

"The funding announced in this Budget will allow further development of the model and the next phase of the process. The recently appointed RQF Development Advisory Group will advise the Government on how the RQF model, if adopted by the Government, could be most effectively implemented," Minister Bishop said.

"This initiative - to formulate a world’s best-practice RQF for evaluating

research quality and impact - seeks to ensure taxpayers’ money is being invested in research of the highest quality which delivers real benefits to the wider community."

Supporting Information Why is this important?

z There is presently no system-wide or expert-based way to

measure the quality and impact of Australian research. Further development of the RQF will provide surety that taxpayers are funding high quality research that generates a benefit to wider society.

Who will benefit?

z Taxpayers, business and industry, researchers, students and


What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

z $3 million for 2006-07 to further develop the RQF model.

What have we done in the past?

z The Australian Government currently funds university research

through a block funding arrangement that allocates resources on the basis of a strict formula which includes research income, numbers of research publications and the number of higher-degree student completions. In 2005 the Australian Government allocated $1.1 billion for research and research training. It is expected that the RQF will be able to determine the quality of research in all disciplines using a qualitative expert-based assessment of both the quality and impact of research outputs.

When will the initiative conclude?

z The RQF model will be further developed over 2006-07.

Media Contacts

Minister Bishop’s Office: Murray Hansen 0417 886 155

Dept of Education, Science & Training: Virginia Cook 0412 971 323

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