Critical tech and what to do about it

The Innovative Research Universities lobby has questions

The feds have a $1bn Critical Technologies Fund, which is “an investment in building strategic capability in Australia, powering economic growth and creating jobs.” As to what counts as critical, the government is now consulting on the 63 tech on the current list.

The techs are in seven areas, * advanced materials and manufacture, * AI computing and comms, * biotech, gene tech and vax * energy/environment * quantum * sensing, timing and navigation and * transport, robotics, space.

But, in a submission to the consultation paper, the IRU wonders what is the point? “It is not clear how the list will be used in relation to specific technologies to inform measures designed to promote or protect designated areas.”

And in particular, IRU is curious how the list applies to what its members do.

“ If government intends to use this list to prioritise funding support for specific technology areas (for example to prioritise among proposals made by universities to funding agencies …) that should also be clarified, with an opportunity for universities to provide input and feedback.”

IRU also calls for a resource to oversight national tech needs, “a technology and innovation think-tank capability to bring together evidence-based analysis of emerging areas and a multi-disciplinary approach to assessing their application and adoption.” Such a tech and innovation think tank” should involve universities, to  “inform the development of new courses and as well as research.”