Uni lobby finds a way to source new funds for research

The Innovative Research Universities lobby wants unis to have access to the National Reconstruction Fund

The $15bn NRF will “provide finance for projects that diversify and transform Australia’s industry and economy” in key industries – but it will not hand out grants. This might look final for university researchers – but not to the IRU which recommends the new resources fund support research, through a “mechanism to invest some of its ‘positive portfolio rate of return’ … to help drive future innovation.”

And IRU takes an expansive view on where funding should go warning, “there is a risk that the research and innovation system becomes unbalance, with not enough investment in the basic or discovery research that will drive the next generation of applied R&D and innovation.”

It suggests the NRF fund discovery research in key national priority areas, “without diverting funding for ‘blue sky’ research.”

And it wants such NRF finance to span STEM and HASS disciplines, “future innovation success will depend on integrating different kinds of knowledge, skills, processes and technologies.”

Plus IRU calls for a parallel programme for collaboration between researchers and the public/community sectors, “for public good innovation.”