CRC budget bid: more of the same please

The Cooperative Research Centre Association has not joined the translational research funding pile-on in its budget submission (CMM Feb 23).

Understandably so, given CRCs are already expert at applying research to practical problems.

Instead the CRCA asks for more from the same-old sources; proposing a 20 per cent premium in the Research and Development Tax Incentive for industry collaboration with research institutes and an extra $50m a year across the forward estimates, to “return the programme to its long-run average level of funding and capacity for economic impact.”

This, the Association advises, would fund two additional CRCs a year, or one CRC and up to eight CRC Ps (the three-year version focused on a specific industry problem).

Translating research into cash

But what, you ask (oh, go on) are the chances of a new $2.8bn bucket to fund taking science to the market? Last year they looked good. In the 2020 budget there was $5.8m for a scoping study of a “university research commercialisation scheme.”

But for this budget, maybe, maybe not.

CMM asked how the study was progressing and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment replied, “an expert panel will develop options for the establishment of this scheme and provide them to the minister later this year.”

There’s way more 2021 after the budget than before.