While demand driven funding is not in the Labor Party platform for national conference next week – another ALP fave, “mission-based compacts”, are. The platform includes regulatory ideas that will engage government with university planning “Labor supports mission-based compacts to encourage universities to pursue diverse missions, based on their strengths. Labor will invest in smaller and regional universities to develop their research capacity in areas of strategic capability,” the platform states.
And as for national interest, “Labor will ensure future funding for Australia’s public universities is driven by national objectives, while reflecting broader student demand and recognising the importance of meeting public good and labour market needs. Labor will ensure research activity is linked more deliberately to social impact and university engagement with community and industry.”
Not that this means telling researchers what to do, heavens no, “Labor will always defend our researchers’ integrity and independence. Science and research must be free of commercial influence and political interference. Previous Labor Governments restored the independence of the Australian Research Council, ensured the independence and autonomy of researchers working in our publicly funded research agencies and our universities. Labor will build on this record to develop a Science Integrity Charter across the Federal public sector.”
So, public funding will be driven by national objectives, but there will be no political interference in research – everybody clear on that?