Government announces review of research funding – July 2015

Filed under: Australian Politics, Education, Research,

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a comprehensive review of university research funding and policy as part of its strategy to boost the commercial returns from research.

He said the Government had committed to a range of actions to enhance the contribution of research in universities and industry to building Australia’s capacity for innovation, productivity and growth.

These included:

  • development of simpler, more transparent research block grant arrangements that focus on excellence, support greater industry and end-user engagement, and better knowledge transfer with industry,
  • working with the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council to ensure rules for competitive grants appropriately recognise industry-relevant expertise or research,
  • ensuring that dealing with intellectual property facilitates research-industry collaboration and the commercialisation of ideas,
  • improving the assessment of the research system such as improved metrics on engagement and knowledge transfer with industry, research outcomes, and impact, and
  • commissioning a review of research training arrangements by the Australian Council of Learned Academies to ensure that it meets Australia’s research needs in the 21st century.

Mr Pyne has commissioned Dr Ian Watt, former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, to head the review of relevant research funding programs, system performance measures and policy settings.

He said the review would provide advice on arrangements that would ensure the world class research undertaken by the higher education system in Australia was translated into economic advantage for the nation.

He said Dr Watt would be assisted by a working group of experts comprising: Professor Peter Coaldrake, Vice-Chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology; Professor Edwina Cornish, Provost and Senior Vice-President of Monash University, Professor Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor of James Cook University; Conor King, Executive Director of the Innovative Research Universities group; and Professor Steven Schwartz, Executive Director of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and a former vice-chancellor.

The report from the review will be provided to the minister before the end of November.

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