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Research Funding Can Unlock Australia’s Innovation Potential

18 September 2015

The Australian Technology Network of universities (ATN) welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Review of Research Funding and Policy.

“Australia has identified the need to drive better collaboration with universities and industry, yet the current funding system heavily rewards publications and citations over engaged research with industry and end users,” said ATN Executive Director, Renee Hindmarsh.

The current funding system largely ignores the past performance of universities when it comes to engagement with industry.

“Pure, basic research is still a vital part of the research ecosystem, however the value of applied research is not reflected in the current system.

 “A realignment of research block grants (RGBs) needs to create incentives for industry-university collaboration in order to unlock our innovation capacity and keep Australia competitive on the global stage.”

The ATN recommends an equal split between research excellence and end-user engagement drivers in the allocation of RGBs.

“This balanced approach would provide incentives for universities to engage with industry in applied research that leads to direct innovation, and would encourage universities to pursue creative ways to earn industry research investment.

“In addition, it would create human capital in areas that would strengthen our nation’s economy by aligning funding with areas of National Research Priorities, as well as boosting the commercial returns on research.”

An investment in real world research with real world impact is an investment in Australia’s future prosperity.

“With over 55,000 research students in Australia, we need to ensure these students have the right resources to stay at the cutting edge in competitive fields, are trained with industry relevant skills to ensure they thrive in a diverse range of careers, and continue to be inspired to conduct great research,” Ms Hindmarsh says.

The ATN’s submission outlines the following key strategies to help build Australia’s innovation culture:

Media contact: Renee Hindmarsh Mobile: 0416 265 038