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The Australian Research Council (ARC) is a Commonwealth entity within the Australian Government and was established as an independent body under the Australian Research Council Act 2001. The ARC advises the Government on research matters and administers the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), a significant component of Australia's investment in research and development.

The ARC’s purpose is to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community through funding the highest quality research, assessing the quality, engagement and impact of research and providing advice on research matters.

In seeking to achieve its purpose, the ARC supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines. In addition, the ARC brokers partnerships between researchers and industry, government, community organisations and the international community. The outcomes of ARC-funded research deliver cultural, economic, social and environmental benefits to all Australians.

Since 2002, the ARC has received more than 112,000 applications and funded more than 28,000 projects.

The Australia Research Council was established in 1988, and created as an independent body in 2001. The ARC is directly descended from the Australian Research Grants Committee (ARGC) established in 1956 and has functions related to the earlier Commonwealth Universities Research Grants Committee formed in 1946 and the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission (CTEC) established in 1974.

Over the years the ARC has evolved in function, structure and reporting arrangements. Its leaders and staff have changed, funding levels have fluctuated, some existing schemes have been reinvigorated and new schemes have been created. Throughout this time the ARC’s role of supporting excellent research by a system of rigorous peer review has not wavered.

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