Today’s announcement of an additional measurement of research in Australian universities – the Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018 - demonstrates the ignorance within the Turnbull Government about Australia’s world class research system.

This new research assessment is a confused and contradictory piece of public policy, which will undermine research excellence and can only be designed to appease the most reactionary elements of the right wing of the Liberal party

Not content with belittling Australian researchers in the press, the Government is unable to explain how the new measure will improve the quality and effect of Australia’s already excellent research system.

This additional measure, as the accompanying report from the Australian Research Council reveals – is untested, confusing and has no apparent link to funding – despite wild but vague threats to the contrary in today’s media. 

The complete range of metrics and indicators has not been finalised, nor has the weighting of measures for certain disciplines.  It appears that this will not resolved for some time.

It’s a waste of time and a waste of money.

Adding an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy within Australian universities will distract our best and brightest from their core job.

Some of the defining discoveries of our age – from Einstein’s theory of relativity, Niels Bohr’s work on quantum mechanics, and the discovery of Wi-Fi by the CSIRO - would not rate under this measure.

A similar measure in the United Kingdom when reviewed in 2016 was found to have ‘problematic features… which give rise to costs, burdens and distortions which could be reduced or avoided”.

The cost burden to UK universities was found to have blown out by hundreds of millions.

The Turnbull Government is addicted to grand sounding announcements that when viewed in the hard cold light of day amount to nothing.

The Liberals will do anything to distract from their unfair plan to cut almost $8 billion from unis, and jack up fees for students.

Clearly the government does not understand the place of basic research in a healthy R&D Innovation system.  Without the generation of new knowledge there can be no translation, no impact and no engagement.

Australia is at risk of getting the balance wrong.

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