On 27 November 2018, Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced the new National Interest Test (NIT).
Under the new National Interest Test (NIT), only those applications that meet the NIT definition and score highly in the competitive grants process will be recommended to the Minister for funding.
Applicants must describe (1,125 characters maximum, approximately 150 words) the extent to which the proposed research contributes to Australia’s national interest through its potential to have economic, commercial, environmental, social or cultural benefits to the Australian community.
The Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) makes recommendations to the CEO on which applications should be approved for funding, which applications should not be approved for funding, and the level of funding and duration of each grant. In making recommendations to the Minister the CEO will:
(a) consider the recommendations from the SAC;
(b) consider the applicant’s response to the National Interest Test;
(c) seek information from Administering Organisations on applications where there is concern about how they meet the National Interest Test based on the information provided in the application form; and
(d) make grant recommendations to the Minister that satisfy the National Interest Test and which are eligible for funding.
The new NIT statement replaces the “benefit and impact” statement.