Promoting the role of Physics in research, education, industry and the community

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The AIP is dedicated to advocating on behalf on the Australian physics community on matters related to research, education, industry and the community.  We welcome enquires by email to

AIP Advocacy Actions

8 February 2024 - AIP strongly supports ARC Review recommendations

7 November 2023 - AIP submission to Draft National Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy

19 September 2023 - ASA-AIP joint submission on the draft National Science and Research Priorities

1 August 2023 - Response to the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report

9 June 2023 - AIP contributes to ACDS initiative to revise Science Threshold Learning Outcomes

24 April 2023 - AIP responds to report on 'Australian Research Council Act Review'

5 January 2023 - Cosmos magazine article: Australian Institute of Physics response to national science review

14 December 2022 - Submission to the Review of Australian Review Council Act 2001

29 November 2022 - Consultation on changes to NSW Year 7-10 Sciences Syllabus

1 September 2022 - Open letter to ARC on the National Interest Test process & grant delays

18 August 2022 - AIP concerned about ARC National Interest Test process and grant delays

9 March 2022 - AIP President speaks at Senate inquiry to advocate for independence of the Australian Research Council (ARC)

24 February 2022 - Submission on the ARC Amendment (Ensuring Research Independence) Bill 2018

27 January 2022 - Joint Statement Regarding Ministerial Intervention in ARC Research Funding Decisions

8 October 2021 - Letter from the AIP, RACI, ASA and AustMS to ARC CEO regarding changes to ARC Pre-Print Policy

29 September 2021 - ARC Response Letter to Prof Sven Rogge, AIP President

24 August 2021 - Concerns about the new ARC "No Preprint" Rule

9 April 2021 - Submission on the University Research Commercialisation

17 August 2020 - Submission on “Job ready Graduates Higher Education Reform Package 2020”

4 May 2020 - Temporary replacement of face-to-face physics classes impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

AIP Advocacy News

  • 8 Feb 2024 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    The AIP strongly supports the recommendations of the Review of the Australian Research Council Act, led by Prof Margaret Sheil.

    As highlighted in our submission to the Review, the AIP strongly endorses the role of expert assessment by the research community in the evaluation of research grant applications. This is in line with international best practice.

    We believe that Ministerial input should be focused on the research scheme guidelines and funding rules, rather than decision making about individual research projects. This puts the decision making in the hands of qualified experts, ensuring the best possible outcomes for our research funding investments.

  • 4 Sep 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The Government’s response to the Final Report of the Independent Review panel: Trusting Australia’s Ability: Review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001, was released on 20 August 2023.

    “The report is very welcome news,” said AIP President Nicole Bell.

    “The Government intends to implement all the key recommendations of the ARC review, including changes that the Australian Institute of Physics advocated for.”

    The ARC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Judi Zielke PSM, said in a media release that the final report is a strong endorsement of the role and positive impact the ARC has had on Australia’s research capability over the last 20 years.

    It affirms the broader reform schedule the ARC is already undertaking to restore stakeholder trust and drive excellent research for the advancement of all Australians.

    “The Government’s response to the review confirms the ARC’s role in underpinning and shaping the national research landscape.

    It will define in legislation our role in supporting basic and strategic basic research as well as applied research, research integrity, evaluation of the excellence, quality and impact of research in Australian universities, and the development of researchers through their career progression.”

    “There is significant work already underway at the ARC to address the recommendations that do not require legislative change, such as those relating to grant guidelines improvements and reduction of administrative burden for researchers, universities and partners.

    We are also consulting with Indigenous researchers regarding the establishment of an ARC Indigenous Forum,” Ms Zielke said.

    Australian Academy of Science President Professor Chennupati Jagadish said in a media release that the underlying theme of the review is that of trust with a strong emphasis on the critical role of the ARC in Australia’s research system.

    “The role of the ARC, its leadership and the execution of its functions should reflect our aspirations for the research landscape, for research excellence and how they can best support our national ambitions,” Professor Jagadish said.

    “The recommendations in the review provide a strong basis to support this purpose and the ongoing effectiveness of the ARC.

    “The Academy welcomes the recommendation that the commitment to funding basic research should be incorporated into the ARC’s purpose under the Act.

    “The Academy views this as important to safeguard fundamental research that grows our knowledge base.”

    The Academy also endorsed several other noteworthy recommendations to:

    • restore the ARC Board and populate it with members with the right combination of skills and experience
    • discontinue Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) and modernise ARC capacity and requirements for data collection and analysis
    • streamline National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) guidelines to reflect international best practice and reduce the administrative burden on academic and research organisations.

    Professor Jagadish said the focus of ministerial discretion on the NCGP guidelines and funding available, rather than on individual grants, would place the recommendations and approvals in the hands of the people with the expertise to assess their merit.

    “It is positive to see the recommendations to advance Indigenous Australians in research and recognition of the impact of the ARC on attracting and retaining research talent,” Professor Jagadish said.

    The Report and the Government’s response can be found at: Review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001 - Department of Education, Australian Government.
  • 1 Aug 2023 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    Last week, the Universities Accord interim report was released. In November 2022, Education Minister Jason Clare appointed a panel to conduct a review to drive lasting reform in Australia’s higher education system, to deliver a system that meets the current and future needs of the nation, and targets to achieve this.

    The Australian Institute of Physics, the professional body representing Australian physicists, considers this interim report a missed opportunity to recommend the real changes that are needed to secure Australia’s future. We hope the final report will go further.

    The report includes several potential proposals including significantly increasing immediate investment in the Australian Research Council, increasing PhD stipend rate, and moving NCRIS to sustainable ongoing funding. The AIP would like to see these proposals elevated to priority actions in the final report.

    However, the failure to recommend a visionary scale-up of Australia’s research sector, to drive stronger job creation, is a significant missed opportunity. Only with stronger investment in research can science address the challenges of the future. This is particularly concerning in light of the latest official data (published in May 2023) that shows that Australian Government investment in R&D has plummeted to its lowest level since 1978.

    We share the view of Science & Technology Australia president Professor Mark Hutchinson that “The final report should enshrine an ambitious target for Australia’s R&D investment – mirroring the 3% of GDP target the Australian Labor Party promised the Australian people before the last election – and recommend a plan and timetable to achieve it.”

  • 9 Jun 2023 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    The Australian Council of Deans of Sciences (ACDS) is revising their Threshold Learning Outcomes for Science graduates in Australia. The AIP National Executive has gratefully embraced the ACDS's invitation to provide comments, and provided the following letter.

    The AIP National Executive's key recommendation is to ensure that the recognising the TLO's emphasise, as a key principle, that science is a form of evidence-based inquiry that seeks to establish objective and verifiable truths independent of belief or opinion.

  • 24 Apr 2023 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    The Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) welcomes the recommendations of the ARC Review report , which reflect the major issues we highlighted in our submission to the ARC Review consultation process.

    Our advocacy efforts to lobby for a modernised ARC are summarised in a recent COSMOS article

    The AIP hopes to see the implementation of these recommendations as soon as possible.

  • 29 Nov 2022 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    The National Executive of the Australian Institute of Physics wishes to  encourage AIP members and the public to take note

    of proposed changes to the NSW School Curriculum for the Sciences, and to provide feedback to the NSW Education Standards Authority through their own survey by 5 December.

    A full brief on this action from the AIP's Advocacy team is included here


  • 1 Sep 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    We have recently submitted an open letter to the Australian Research Council (ARC) following reports from several of our members that their funding applications were returned to their institutions with requests to modify their National Interest Test (NIT) statements.

    The applications affected were for those for the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) and Future Fellowship. As a result, the announcement of outcomes for these awards have been delayed.

    Unexpected delays negatively impact the early- and mid-career researchers for whom these awards are targeted – especially the former, who rely on clear timelines for career planning.

    The NIT statements, which are a short summary of the research project proposed, is excluded from the peer-review process. There is currently no avenue for the applicant and their host institution to respond to the NIT assessment in their rejoinder.

    In the letter we published on 17 August, we express our willingness to support the ARC through consultation and feedback on the peer-review process since we believe a clear and transparent process is essential.

    Read our open letter here.

    AIP President Professor Sven Rogge was also recently interviewed by Campus Morning Mail regarding pre-prints, the role of the ARC, NIT statements, research translation and more.   

    Listen to his interview (Expert Opinion: Episode 11) here.

    Read The Guardian's coverage of the issue, which also quotes Prof Rogge, here.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    AIP President speaks at Senate inquiry

    • Watch a recording of Prof Rogge’s presentation (14:35:40 onwards) here.

    Prof Sven Rogge speaking on behalf of the AIP at the 9 March proceedings of the Senate Education and Employment Legislation CommitteeProf Sven Rogge spoke on behalf of the AIP to advocate for independence of the Australian Research Council (ARC) at the 9 March proceedings of the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee.

    The Senate inquiry heard evidence from representatives of Australia’s academic and research sector as the Committee considered a bill to amend the Australian Research Council Act 2001 to prevent ministerial interference with grants approved for funding by the ARC.

    The bill was proposed in response to widespread outcry from the research community after  acting education minister Stuart Robert vetoed six ARC grants in the humanities on Christmas Eve last year.

    The STEM panel at the inquiry pushed the importance of the Haldane principle, under which funding bodies operate independently under rules defined by the government. The principle is implemented in the UK, Europe, and the US.

    “Ministerial interventions that threaten the autonomy and independence of scientific institutions and processes risk undermining the quality of Australia’s research and reflect poorly on Australia’s standing in the international community,” Prof Rogge said at the inquiry.

    He also emphasised the importance of clearly communicated and reliable timelines for funding decisions:

    “Arbitrary delays announcing grant outcomes jeopardise research projects linked with industry partners, leads to the loss of highly skilled early career researchers (ECRs) near the end of their contracts, and diminishes Australia’s international competitiveness.”

    The bill was ultimately defeated as of 21 Mar on the premise that ministerial power to block grants may be needed in instances of security or criminal intelligence that compromise Australia’s safety.

    The full report of the Committee can be found here.

    Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi, who spearheaded the bill, said: “Despite an overwhelming majority of contributors supporting the removal of the veto, the committee majority have relied selectively on evidence provided by a very small number of witnesses.”

    A united front from across academia and research

    Despite the disappointing outcome, the experience was a strong showing of the whole research and academic sector united with a vision of research independence.

    Prior to the inquiry, the AIP signed an open letter to oppose ministerial interference in solidarity with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the Statistical Society of Australia, the Astronomical Society of Australia, and Australian Mathematical Inquiry.

    Speaking alongside Prof Rogge on the STEM panel at the 9 Mar inquiry were Prof Mark Hutchinson and Ms Mischa Schubert from Science and Technology Australia, Prof Hugh Bradlow and Ms Kylie Walker from the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, and Prof Hans Bachor and Dr Stuart Barrow from the Australian Academy of Science.

    The full list of representatives from the academic and research sector who were consulted at the Senate inquiry can be found here.

    Photo: Screengrab from the 9 Mar Senate inquiry.

Australian Institute of Physics advocacy
Physical sciences and the ARC

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