Cooperative Research Centres: they’re (already) here to help

There’s  already a way for industry to link with researchers on applied research

The government’s research commercialisation paper, asks for ideas on how to improve industry-university collaboration and points to UK and Canadian examples, which appears to puzzle the Cooperative Research Centres Association.

As it’s response to the paper politely puts it, “we urge the committee to pursue policy interventions that are not simply copies from other countries but are shaped for Australia’s unique circumstances and strengths and build the capacity of Australian industry to invest and participate in research and development.”

Which is what, the association points out, its members do.

“The programme has improved the lives of Australians by harnessing our sovereign research capability to create new industries, businesses, and products. It leverages government financing with co-investment from industry and universities, returning on average three times the value of the Australian Government’s contribution. The program creates an environment that makes investment in research collaboration for step-change rather than incremental change more attractive and less risky for Australian businesses.”

Good- o, so once the research priorities are set why not just use the CRC model to translate research into commercial practice?

Perhaps because CRCs are independent and time-limited and as such not a revenue stream for individual universities, which the government will need not to oppose the proposed translational research strategy.