Universities back calls to scrap minister’s research veto

The peak body for Australian universities has backed a push to strip the federal education minister of the power to veto research grants after the Coalition intervened to block six humanities grants worth about AU$1.4 million (US$1 million) late last year, writes Lisa Visentin for The Sydney Morning Herald.

In a decision that has been widely criticised by academics, Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert vetoed Australian Research Council (ARC) funding to the six projects for 2022 on Christmas Eve – the third time in four years the power has been used by the Coalition.

Universities Australia, which represents the country’s 39 comprehensive universities, urged parliament to back a Greens bill proposed by Senator Mehreen Faruqi that would remove the minister’s right of veto under the Australian Research Council Act. In a submission to a Senate inquiry examining the bill, Universities Australia said ministerial intervention into the operations of the ARC “threaten the integrity of the research system and Australia’s capacity to continue to be a significant contributor to the global research effort”.
Full report on The Sydney Morning Herald site