The Vexed Question of Research Priorities: An Australian Example

This paper discusses the nature of the research priorities debate in Australia, and traces the working out of that debate over recent years. The discussion is embedded in an account of how the institutional structure developed to allocate funds for research and how mechanisms were put in place to try to establish national research priorities. It is argued that the prioritising processes developed by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Australian Science and Technology Council (ASTEC) during the 1980s and early 1990s are adaptable enough for current and future use, but that by 1996–7, the possibility of a sustained effort to work out national research priorities appeared remote.

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