Australian Research Committee

The creation of the Australian Research Committee (ARCom) was a recommendation of the Focusing Australia's Publicly Funded Research Review, which was released on 3 November 2011.

Further information on the current work of ARCom is provided on the ARCom meetings page.

Terms of Reference

The Australian Research Committee (ARCom) has been established to provide integrated and strategic advice on investment across the science, research and innovation system, including in the areas of human capital, infrastructure and collaborative activities. ARCom provides advice to the government via the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research and/or the Minister for Industry and Innovation.

Strategic priorities

ARCom will develop a statement of strategic priorities where Australian Government leadership can facilitate and coordinate sufficient scale of research effort to achieve a strong impact in an area of national need. The statement will be updated prior to the preparation of future updates to the National Research Investment Plan, or as required.

National Research Investment Planning

As part of the 2012 National Research Investment Plan, ARCom has established a whole-of-government framework against which future research funding decisions can be taken by the relevant Minister(s). From this, Ministers will be able to make better informed decisions as to the level, balance and nature of research investment. The National Research Investment Plan outlines a set of principles and provides advice on the nature of the investments required to sustain a cohesive national research and innovation capability.

ARCom’s role is to advise on the implementation of the National Research Investment Plan and to undertake investment planning processes, in consultation with key stakeholders, taking into account:

  • areas of national strength and need, including ways to build scale in areas of strategic priority;
  • Australia’s current and future research and innovation capability needs;
  • future strategic priorities for major research investments;
  • coordination of Australian Government research and innovation investment;
  • areas of world class collaborative research activities; and
  • areas of demand by industry, government and other end users.

Investment planning will consider all the fundamental elements of the research fabric, including workforce, infrastructure, collaboration and high quality research.

The National Research Investment Plan will be updated every three years, or as necessary, for consideration by government.

Other advisory functions

ARCom will prepare advice to the government as required on emerging needs, problems, issues and opportunities for the science, research and innovation system, including:
  • opening access to the outputs and data from publicly funded research;
  • reducing transaction costs of engaging in research including intellectual property and warranties and indemnities;
  • improving connections in the science, research and innovation system, including an examination of impediments and opportunities; and
  • such other matters as the Committee considers necessary to address the other terms of reference.


ARCom is chaired by the Chief Scientist for Australia, and includes:

  • senior officials from Commonwealth departments;
  • the CEOs of the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation;
  • the Chief Defence Scientist of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation;
  • the Chair of the Innovation Australia Board; and
  • a senior representative from Universities Australia.

The current membership is listed on the ARCom membership page.

Contact us

For further information about the Australian Research Committee, please email or write to us at:

Australian Research Committee Secretariat
Science Policy and Agencies Branch
Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
GPO Box 9839
Canberra  ACT  2601 

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