Government’s DIY ideas for uni-industry research co-operation

Education Minister Alan Tudge wants research that translates into Australia-advancing products and services (CMM yesterday). There is a paper on ways it could be done

For a start, universities need to change: They lack “an innovation culture,” with “performance management and rewards focused on quality of academic output and citations.”

And that is bad for business:  “Grant application processes are more geared towards academic rather than commercialisation objectives. Government university research funding is allocated largely to projects over a long period of time with no evaluation or assessment for commercial impact. Timeframes, process and effort required to obtain research grants can deter businesses from engaging and collaborating with universities and academics.”

Four ways to fix this: the discussion paper sets out issues to address;

Mission-driven research: “Selected areas of national priority should align with areas of commercialisation opportunity and business need.”

Stage-gated design: “a scheme to commercialise university research should fill a gap in the current research commercialisation landscape by funding translational research; progressing ideas from early-stage research into a product that shows proof of concept and viability for industry partnership and investment.”

Incentives for participation: Which is the expensive bit, so the discussion paper is carefully worded to make nothing that looks like a hint of a promise. But the questions the feds ask provide an idea what the government wants. “Should existing incentives for commercialisation within a scheme outweigh publication incentives? Should universities have “skin in the game” … to identify the best ideas to fund and the most efficient and effective pathway to commercial outcomes?”

Making friends: “universities might consider rewarding researchers who have achieved success in industry-based commercialisation for academic promotions, encouraging greater mobility between sectors, as well as greater engagement.”

Anybody interested has until April 9 to contribute ways of agreeing with the government’s ideas