A manual for venture catapaultists

The education minister is looking for ideas on research translation. There’s a report in the industry portfolio which could be useful

Last week Education Minister Alan Tudge was keen to talk to UK science minister Amanda Solloway about research commercialisation, particularly the Brits’ Grand Challenges programme and Catapult Network (“transforming great ideas into valuable products and services,” (CMM May 6)).

What you ask, the Catapult Network that influenced the establishment of the Australian Industry Growth Centres? That’s the one, learned readers reply.

The industry growth centres are in the Industry portfolio and LRs hope that its minister, Christian Porter, gave Mr Tudge the ACIL Allen report on the centres.

But if Minister Tudge has a copy his is one of very few. The report is not released and LRs who generally know where to find papers buried by bureaucrats say they can’t find it anywhere.

Which seems strange, given the report was completed before the last election and friends of the industry growth centres might welcome good news. In 2019 CMM reported a Nous Group review praised the programme with faint damns, “Feedback from stakeholders, ‘is generally positive’, ‘data collection and performance measurement practices currently lack the rigour required for consistency and alignment,’ ‘more work is required to develop consistent and appropriate approaches …’ ” (CMM July 31 2019).

Whatever ACIL Allens reported needs to be known. Mr Tudge’s interest in research commercialisation is not abstract, the government is contemplating a major university-industry research translation scheme.

“If we are going to base another Australian programme on Catapult , it might be worth figure out if the first one is working,” a LR remarks.