Education and research are vital elements of society that drive innovation. Whether in the fields of economics, technology, or health and medicine, the process of researching and questioning the norm has led to some of the most important discoveries and inventions of our time. Governments and industries recognise the importance of creating a research-focused culture, resulting in vested interest from public and private sectors.
CEO of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Aidan Byrne has worked in academia his whole career. After completing his Bachelor and Master of Science at the University of Auckland, Aidan commenced his PhD at Australian National University. It was there that he became a research fellow, working for the Department of Physics and the Department of Nuclear Physics. He was appointed head of the Department of Physics in 2003 and went on to become dean of science and the director of the ANU College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences. In July 2012, Aidan took up a new challenge, becoming CEO of the Australian Research Council.
The ARC is responsible for providing Commonwealth funding to support research activity across Australian universities through our National Competitive Grants Program [!ncgp!]. This is a competitive process, assessing research proposals and allocating funding across all discipline areas aside from clinical medicine and dentistry. The ARC has a particular responsibility for supporting basic research and research that connects universities and investigators to other parts of the innovation sector. In 20122013, the ARC administered $879 million and awarded almost 1,500 research grants through the NCGP.