Big budget ideas from Unis Aus

The peak body predicts “probable” job losses and a $2bn decline in member revenues tbis year but there is more in its budget submission than a cri de cash

UA’s budget submission, dated January and released today, asks for funding increases to support research and teaching, plus help to bring back international students.

However, there’s more than the usual asks this year, with UA demonstrating that it knows the game has changed and that government wants universities on-board with its research plans.

On teaching: UA proposes extending the higher education loan programme to cover non-award micro-credentials “offered by Australian universities”.

“Changes in Australia’s economic conditions and advances in science and technology will continue to reshape how Australians work and the role they play in Australia’s labour market. The extent to which Australians, businesses and the nation can benefit from these changes depends significantly on the readiness of Australia’s education and training systems to help individuals build and maintain relevant knowledge and skills over their working careers.”

On research: UA makes the standard call for stronger and longer funding but also engages with the government’s fascination with research translation, proposing direct funding for industry to invest in research and development, separate to the R&D tax incentive.

Other proposals in an appendix are big on policy options for funding research and development including,

* research vouchers for small and medium enterprises to use with universities

* “government facilitated” technology transfer from universities to SMEs

* mission-driven grants, “promoting both cross-sector collaboration and further innovation, alongside possessing the potential to increase national capabilities and speed-to-market in identified areas of national strategic advantage,” and

* industry PhD training programmes