AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS

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

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Advocacy

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 feedback@aip.org.au.

AIP Advocacy Actions

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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

    2022_11_AIP_NSW_School_Syllabus_Comment.pdf

  • 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.


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