Just as many of us were attempting to take a much-needed break over the festive season, Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert announced dramatic changes to the ARC funding rules for the Linkage program, followed by the news, on Christmas Eve, that he had vetoed six of the Discovery projects recommended for funding by the ARC, all of which were in the humanities.
The CSAA joins the Australian Academies of the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences in expressing its alarm and deep concern about these moves.
The proposed changes to the Linkage scheme – which includes the ARC Centres of Excellence, the Industrial Transformation Research Program, the Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme, Linkage Projects and Special Research Initiatives – all but restrict future funding to collaborations with the manufacturing sector. The “Letter of Expectations” the Minister sent to the ARC directs that in future 70% of Linkage Projects are to be oriented to National Manufacturing Priorities with, “the remaining Linkage Program allocations in specific cases, such as the Low Emissions Technology Statement, the National Agricultural Innovation Priorities and the Defence Science and Technology Strategy 2030”.
You can read about these proposed changes here:
The subsequent veto of Discovery Projects has been the object of international condemnation. Four of these grants were in literary studies, and two focused on cultural issues in contemporary China. You can follow the public and media response to this announcement in the articles linked below.
On the proposed changes to the Linkage scheme, see also:
The CSAA stands in solidarity with members directly affected by the most recent veto. I remind the membership that writing letters of protest to our local members remains a viable way to voice our strong disapproval of both the Ministerial vetoing of projects recommended for funding, and the proposed changes to the Linkage scheme.
Let us hope that this election year gives us another opportunity to make our voices heard.
With best wishes,
Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens
President, Cultural Studies Association of Australasia