Re-discovering discovery research policy

Discovery research  policy people  were pleased last week when Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic included it in a speech celebrating science as nation building

Basic research is important “where the short-term commercial outcomes are not immediately apparent” but which can end in “life-changing innovations that we use every day,” he said.

Good-o, but there is now pretty much bipartisan support for research that will not find a market failing fast and for funding ideas that can go quick-smart to market.

The Productivity Commission mildly demurs in its new five year report on innovation, making the case for research that is not tied to immediate policy preferences.

“Recent policy initiatives to increase knowledge transfer are too narrow in their scope in that they focus on direct commercialisation activities and advanced manufacturing industries. By focusing on research commercialisation, policy initiatives to increase knowledge transfer treat knowledge transfer as synonymous with commercialisation, even though other channels — such as consulting by academics — may be more relevant for certain types of firms and industries (especially service industries), research areas (especially social sciences) and research institutions.”

It’s a case to make to the O’Kane Accord team, where research policy people fear the emphasis will be on access, equity and funding for UG places. Tne Group of Eight appears to think so – making a case for a national research strategy, (CMM yesterday).