Government R&D dollars down, really down

Total state and federal government expenditure on research and development dropped $446m from $3725m in 2012-13 to $3279m in  ’16-17, according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. As a share of GDP outlays fell from just under 0.3 per cent in 2006-07 to less than 0.2 per cent in ’16-17.

Pure basic research took a big hit, down 29 per cent, or $50m last year, with strategic basic research losing $29m, (3 per cent). Applied research dropped by $47m or 3 per cent hit.

The Group of Eight slams the results; “a nation walks away from investing in research at its peril. Research creates jobs, stimulates the economy, saves and changes lives and contributes significantly to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the Australian community.

““The drop in basic research funding is particularly concerning as it is the start of Australia’s research pipeline,” Group of Eight CEO Vicki Thomson says.

She adds that Group of Eight research generates a ten to one spill-over into the economy.


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