Grant reports (Mura search)
With the greatest reluctance, the Council has decided that applications for research grants will not be invited for the 2012 year. Although an important discretionary program, this will be the first time in over 20 years that grants will not be available.
This decision has been taken by the AIATSIS Council following considerable deliberation over recent times concerning the strategic capacity of AIATSIS to undertake, support and commission research. In its deliberations Council also discussed in considerable detail the changing and increasingly competitive research and fiscal environment within which AIATSIS operates. Council has noted the financial revenue growth over recent years of both the higher education and research sectors generally which has not been matched by the AIATSIS experience.
Significant financial pressures are currently being experienced by the Institute and this has been the case for some time. AIATSIS funding from Government has fallen steadily over the past decade, in inflation-adjusted terms. Well argued submissions to Government over a number of past budgetry cycles seeking increased base funding, and/or exemption from the efficiency dividend, have been unsuccessful. We have now passed the point where all legislated functions, which relate to both our research and our related archival collection responsibilities, can be delivered, and in this context Council took the view that decisive action was called for.
Whilst Council noted, and appreciates, the Government’s decision to exempt AIATSIS from the additional 2.5% efficiency dividend in 2012-13, this will have no positive impact on ongoing funding.
Internal reviews of the grants program presented to Council workshops in 2010 and 2011 found that the program wasn’t meeting critical intended purposes. Applications from Indigenous researchers and communities were declining, community interest in more practical research did not necessarily result in competitive applications, research costs were rising while the overall pool of grant money was staying static, excellent grants of high cost or major research collaborations could not be supported, and the costs of managing the program relative to the amounts offered were higher than other audited programs. Given the overall pressures on the organisation, AIATSIS was struggling to maintain funding of the program at 7.5% of the total appropriation whereas in the 1970s the figure was more like 24%.
At the same time AIATSIS had declining capacity to employ visiting research staff, declining expertise in important topics, declining capacity to provide research advice to government, declining capacity to support field research of staff, increasing reliance on non-ongoing contract or grant based research, and ad hoc support of Indigenous researchers. In addition, the grants program is no longer eligible for inclusion in the Australian Competitive Grants Register, due to a Government policy decision in 2010.
For these reasons, Council reluctantly decided that the grants program could not be funded next year. Instead, the funds will be used to bolster research in priority areas which are critically short of resources. The funding priorities will be:
A report will be provided to Council’s meeting in August 2012 on the impact of this change and to consider the future.
Phone: +61 2 6261 4211
Post: PO Box 553, Canberra ACT 2601
Location: Lawson Crescent on Canberra's Acton Peninsula.
Due to a need, resources for existing grantees have been placed on a the following page: Grants Resources.