Established 1988 under the Employment, Education and Training Act 1986. It is one of the four councils of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training.
The ARC is a statutory authority within the Australian Government's Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (IISR) portfolio. Its mission is to deliver policy and programs that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community. In seeking to achieve its mission, the ARC provides advice to the Government on research matters and manages the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), a significant component of Australia's investment in research and development. Through the NCGP, the ARC supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines, with the exception of clinical medicine and dentistry. The ARC is also responsible for administering the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative. The ERA initiative will assess research quality within Australia's higher education institutions and will give government, industry, business and the wider community assurance of the excellence of research conducted. It will also provide a national stocktake, by research discipline areas, of research strength against international benchmarks.