Informing research and funding policy working group

– To respond to enquiries into research and funding policy in the Oceania region.
– To respond, as appropriate, to international enquiries and discussions.
– To be proactive in preparing for the next review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (date unknown) to build a strong case for the inclusion of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research.


Gabriele Bammer (chair), Martin Bliemel, Beth Fulton, Iain Gordon, Teatulohi (Lohi) Matainaho, Ken Taylor, Zee Upton


1. Additional submissions to the enquiries listed under completed activities below, when the enquiry processes enter their next phases.

2. Preparing for the next review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification
– this will build on the work of an earlier working group on Research Classification.

Completed activities:

1. June and July 2023: Discussion paper “Looking at the Future of Transdisciplinary Research” prepared by the International Science Council Centre for Science Futures

comment submitted 30/6/23 (PDF 98KB)
It is published on this webpage (scroll down to “open online forum discussion”); the webpage also has the link to the discussion paper. 

2. December 2022, April 2023 and August 2023: Australian Universities Accord
submission made 16/12/22 (PDF 191KB) on the priorities
submission made 11/4/23 (PDF 216KB) in response to the discussion paper released on 22/2/23
submission made 31/8/23 (PDF 187KB) in response to the interim report released on 19/7/23. 

Information about the review is also available.

3. March 2023: Refreshing Australia’s National Science and Research Priorities and National Science Statement.
submission made 29/3/23 (PDF 209KB)
response provided to draft priorities 28/9/23 (PDF 129KB)  

Information about the review is also available.

4. December 2022 and February 2023: Review of the Australian Research Council
submission made 13/12/22 (PDF 205KB)
– participated in an online focus group 24/2/23

Information about the review is also available.

The report of the Review of the Australian Research Council (ARC) has been released.

Given that the review was focused on the legislative underpinning of the ARC, it is not surprising that interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research are not mentioned. Regrettably only one of the 14 case studies presented (Case study 10: the Australian origins of global wifi) comes even close to illustrating what working across disciplines can do, mentioning the “highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to solving a profoundly stubborn engineering problem”, bringing together “mathematics, radioastronomy and electrical engineering” (p. 45). None of the cases describe the benefits of bringing in the expertise of stakeholders affected by the problem under investigation, which is a hallmark of transdisciplinary research.

In the Executive Summary (p. 3) the report mentions: “Unsurprisingly, the Panel has received extensive and detailed feedback from a wide range of individuals and stakeholders in relation to both the activities of the ARC and research in Australian universities more generally. The submissions we received, which will be published along with this report, include valuable advice and suggestions outside the scope of this review.” We trust that there will be an opportunity for these submissions, especially those supporting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, to be considered as changes to the ARC are implemented.