In the worst timing since CMM last danced, officials released Commonwealth science, research and development data just ahead of the prime minister’s science prize.
Labor’s innovation, industry, science and research shadow Kim Carr was quick to point out that total outlays this financial year are $9.6bn, down from $10.4bn in 2017-18. According to the official estimates, spending as a per centage of GDP is expected to 0.51 per cent by June next year, way down on the 0.67 per cent in 2012.
Science and Technology Australia’s president Emma Johnston (UNSW) used the figures to renew the case for a translation fund to apply and commercialise “discovery research” for non-medical science. Such a fund would be run by the Australian Research Council and be an equivalent of the Medical Research Future Fund.
“The government speaks very highly of the STEM sector and understands the value of research and its potential to change the world for the better – it’s vital that this is backed up with the public investment and policy levers necessary to make this a reality,” she said.