And does it really matter?

Potential ways to measure the impact of university research and their engagement with business and industry will be looked at in a pilot study commencing in 2017, and ahead of the rollout of the Engagement and Impact Assessment' system in 2018.

The initiative, which is run by the Australian Research Council in conjunction with the Excellence in Research for Australia assessment, is funded with $9 million through the National Science and Innovation Agenda.

According to Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham, the assessment will be about measuring "the value of research against things that mean something, rather than only allocating funding to researchers who spend their time trying to get published in journals.”

The pilot will look at a wide range of indicators and methods of assessment for both research engagement and impact. It will include both quantitative and qualitative information, and will involve universities, industry and other end-users of research.

The disciplines the ARC will test for ‘engagement’ include chemical sciences, medical and health sciences, history and archaeology, and philosophy and religious studies. Environmental sciences, agricultural and veterinary sciences, engineering, education, studies in creative arts and writing, and language communication and culture will be examined for their 'impact'.

Universities intending to participate can make their pilot submissions to the ARC in May 2017. A review of the pilot will be reported in late-2017.

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