The Australian | 10 October 2012
Industry could pull the plug on millions of dollars of promised research funding because of uncertainty over the Commonwealth government’s freeze on discretionary spending in its bid to some how, any how amass a budget surplus.
Unease over the delays is increasing among industry-linked researchers who have spent years cultivating industry support.
The ARC usually offers two funding rounds a year for Linkage Projects that must include industry partners prepared to at least match any ARC contribution. It funded $100 million worth last year but the first round this year was scrapped following an announcement in December that $236m over five years would go on new “hubs” to bring industry and researchers together.
Researchers are now carrying over their applications for the next Linkage round, which is due to close on 14 November. But the opening date for applications has slipped from September and there is no news on a new date.
ARC acting chief executive Leanne Harvey confirmed all funding announcements and the opening of new rounds were on hold. She could only say the “pause” would be “brief”.
The Australian government is looking at all its discretionary grant schemes, including those administered by the ARC, to ensure taxpayers are getting value for money.