Australia’s research funding council is still without a CEO ten months after the former CEO, Professor Adrian Byrne, gave the Turnbull Government notice of his resignation from the Australian Research Council (ARC).
This comes on top of the ARC having had $187 million – in real terms – cut from its budget since 2013/14.
Birmingham, said that an announcement was imminent, but still nothing has been seen or heard:
“I can advise that the necessary appointment processes around that recommended applicant have all proceeded in accordance with government requirements, that final contract negotiation and settlement arrangements are being undertaken and I would anticipate an announcement being imminent.”
Senator Birmingham, Senate Estimates, 1 March 2017
Now more than ever it is important that Australia’s research sector has a strong CEO at the helm of the ARC.
The ARC needs a CEO with specialist knowledge and experience of a sector under pressure, particularly from the ideological obsessions of the Turnbull Liberals’.
Under Mr Turnbull, just as under Mr Abbott, the Liberals have continued to prefer research that they hope turns a quick dollar.
The new Industry and Science Minister’s Science Statement last week declared that the Government is committed to basic as well as applied research.
But the Turnbull Government has yet to announce funding and policy initiatives that back up the minister’s claim.
If we do not fund and support basic research Australian universities will have nothing to commercialise.