Aus unis R&D achievement: not as good as it looks

It’s the results of long-past commitments

Aus universities lead the world when the major rankings are referenced by GDP, according to a new analysis of UNSW’s Aggregate Ranking of Top Universities by Nicholas Fisk and Thomas Chown (both UNSW).

“Whichever way you look at it, Australia’s research-intensive universities are up there among the world’s best. This paints Australia’s universities as delivering incredible value for money,” they write in CMM this morning.

Except that the achievement might be based on R&D funding a decade back – since then Aus is one of five OECD countries where spending as a per centage of GDP has declined.

“It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Australia has been asleep at the wheel in terms of nurturing its research ecosystems. COVID has highlighted our vulnerabilities not only in university business models but in R&D dependent sovereign capability. National reconstruction is fine, but it is international catch up in R&D investment that’s now needed, Fisk and Chown they say.