ARC Excellence in Research for Australia Study

1 February 2011

Minister Carr announced the results of the ARC's ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) study yesterday. There are several key points which should be noted as we begin the analysis of the results.

The first is that this is a milestone for the Australian research enterprise, providing us with rich data to better understand our research performance. Not surprisingly, the University of Sydney stands among Australia's best, and shows both breadth and depth in world-class research performance.

Second, this ERA report is based on data from 2003 to 2008, and we are already preparing for another submission in 2012 which will provide opportunities for improving the methodology as well as understanding the trends.

Third, because the methodology is extremely sensitive to size and focus of both institutions and disciplines, the ARC specifically said the ratings should not be variously added up or averaged to provide a ranking table. Nonetheless you will have observed that it is irresistible for reporters and commentators to do so in various ways.

Importantly, the data does reveal the importance of the research strategies identified in the strategic planning process last year, and articulated in the Strategic Plan 2011-2015. I am excited about our work together this year to implement those strategies.

Michael Spence

Vice-Chancellor and Principal