Accord needs a recipe for a bigger research costs pie

Nicholas Fisk and Daniel Owens (UNSW) argue the Research Block Grant pie is not big enough to feed established research schemes, let alone the MRFF and commercialisation programmes. Cooking up a solution is up to the Accord

In Features this morning they warn that the shortfall in funding for what research grants don’t cover ($1.14 on the dollar) is only some of the extra cash unis must find to keep the lab lights on. There’s also the gap between what projects cost and what research grants fund, plus salary shortfalls.

So what is to be done? Fisk and Owens estimate a full-fix would cost $1.9bn-$5.8bn a year but they suggest there is $3.2bn in research and development tax offsets “that are ripe for scrutiny.”

Which might be a bit of a political ask for the Accord to recommend. Then again, its terms of reference include, “support a system of university research that delivers for Australia, securing the future of the Australian research pipeline, from basic and translational research to commercialisation.”