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Research raid undermines industry confidence and certainty

Science & Technology Australia Media Release

A $46.2 million cut to research commercialisation unveiled in today’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook undermines confidence – with R&D the investment capital for Australia’s future prosperity.

The cut of $46.2 million over four years to Australia’s new research commercialisation fund – Australia’s Economic Accelerator – amounts to seven per cent of the fund capital allocated in the last Budget.

The fund was announced and funded under the Morrison Government and legislated under the Albanese Government, and it has strong cross-party support across the Australian Parliament.

The cut comes as Australia’s investment in R&D has already plunged to a four-decade low – when Australia urgently needs to lift its investment in R&D, rather than raid it.

Science & Technology Australia President Professor Sharath Sriram called it a step in the wrong direction.

“Australia urgently needs to invest more – not less – in research and development to generate the next wave of new jobs and income to secure the living standards of our kids and grandkids,” he said.

“Australia cannot afford to chip away at our investment in commercialising our research breakthroughs – delivering major dividends takes strategic, stable, and bold investment.”

“We cannot afford to undermine certainty and confidence – which are crucial to the willingness of Australian industry to engage in research commercialisation.”

“We urge the Government and Education Minister Jason Clare to rethink this cut – especially as the Government considers the final report of the Australian Universities Accord in the months ahead.”

“The Accord urgently needs to deepen Australia’s ambition and investments in R&D to secure Australia’s economic future – starting in the May Budget in 2024.”

Science & Technology Australia welcomed the MYEFO confirmation of investments in expanding access to university for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, expanding Paid Parental Leave and the establishment of a new Board for the Australian Research Council.

Science & Technology Australia is the nation’s peak body representing more than 115,000 scientists and technologists. We’re the leading policy voice on science and technology. Our flagship programs include Science Meets Parliament, Superstars of STEM, and STA STEM Ambassadors.

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6 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    No R&D means no economic future.

    This $46.2 MILLION cut to R&D funding is about as silly and short-sighted as any COALition policy except the USUKA sub debacle.

  2. Clakka

    Its not ‘No R&D’, its a 7% cut. Universities have been colossally spoon fed, and have fecklessly been raking in the dough. Its time they stood on their own hind legs and put more effort into commercial alignments and sustainment of the talent they dragooned into PhDs through R&D collaborations via their own treasuries.

    At the moment, it seems to me the government’s immediate priorities rest with urgent application of funds to the vocational sector.

  3. New England Cocky

    @ Clakka: I demur ….. universities have not been spoon-fed. Rather. the trickle of research funds needs re-organising to benefit new projects.

    Why would anybody in their right mind want to complete up to five years of post-graduate study, with all the traumatic stress of writing up research, to end up as a rarely employed casual earning considerably less than a bureaucratic desk jockey who has weekends free from work matters?

  4. New England Cocky

    @ Clakka: Consider this COALition response …..

    Nice try, Barnaby

  5. Clakka

    Thanks NEC: Pls don’t get me wrong when I say ‘spoon fed’. To clarify, I meant spoon fed to run amok gorging themselves as free-reining international educational megaliths.

    In doing this they have, by over-paid management bean-counters, ignored the pleas of serious academics and educators, amongst other predations, reduced the rigors of degrees and qualifications, and severely neglected the primacy of R&D. Like everything else the LNP got its mitts on, it blew the fundamental principles and linkages of education, R&D and commerce out the window.

    The whole caboodle needs a restructure to first and foremost serve Oz. The most recent environmental / socio-economic urgencies mean the Labor has to be very careful in balancing our immediate needs whilst accounting for the longer term restructure.

  6. New England Cocky

    @Clakka: That also happened at your university???? The Dawkins Reforms have much to answer for.

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