Go8 make the case for research as a national resource

The Eight has a series of policy papers underway, which it may hope Mary O’Kane and her University Accord colleagues read (CMM March 9)

There’s a new one today, which shouts out the importance of university research and  the need for a national strategy for, “advancing Australia’s economic sovereignty.” This appears tightly targeted to the political sell for the government’s National Reconstruction Fund, described by Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic, as “to ensure Australian-made discoveries can be commercialised and scaled in Australia.”

The Eight’s paper makes a case for research as a national resource, “not simply by a portfolio by portfolio target and initiatives approach but a coherent, long-term bipartisan strategy” including,

* “enhance” funding of university research

* “further collaboration” between universities and industry, for research and development, “scope and scale”

* more PhD training support plus migration settings “to attract and retain world-leading university researchers and educators”

And the Eight make a point that its members rate but which can get lost in the manufacturing as patriotism rhetoric.

A research strategy should be “discipline agnostic, “basic or foundational research … may not have an immediate commercial application – but this misses the point that basic research expands the knowledge base needed for breakthrough scientific progress.”