Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Guess who defines 'waste' in ARC-funded research

By Rod Lamberts

A Coalition government would reign in wasteful spending on research, but are their decisions based on evidence of waste or merely the Coalition’s funding priorities?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

I doubt anyone truly believes governments are infinitely resourced. Even the most rabid, single-issue monomaniac can appreciate that to add public money from bucket X, it must come from bucket Y.

So it’s perfectly understandable the Coalition, like any party, must prioritise government spending of taxpayer money. The question is, how to prioritise.

What are the criteria for good spending versus bad spending? More specifically, what constitutes wasted spending?

When it comes to research funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) at least, it seems the Coalition has it all worked out.

In a Daily Telegraph exclusive this morning, it was reported that the Coalition has found all kinds of waste in ARC-funded research and that, under them, this will be reined in.

Not wanting to leave us guessing, some very specific examples of such wasted research spending were mentioned by the paper:

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that a list of the types of grants that would no longer be funded under new and more stringent guidelines for the ARC included an RMIT project on Spatial Dialogues: Public Art and Climate Change which sought to explore how people could adapt to climate change...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.