Uni push to be in the room where national reconstruction happens

The Australian Technology Network tells a Senate committee inquiry the main aim of the National Reconstruction Fund should be economic progress and “partnering with and investing in universities will be key”

But to make this happen, the bill creating the fund should “specifically and explicitly enable investment in universities.”

And it should require  a university representative on the board.

“The NRF can form a vital part of the research ecosystem and stimulate investment in all stages of research and development by providing tangible and achievable pathways for research, the relevant workforce, startups and scaleups,” ATN asserts.

Good-o, except that the Government presents the NRF as building manufacturing capacity in key industries. “Australia should be a country that makes things. It should be able to create jobs,” Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic said in Reps Question Time yesterday. And he mentioned areas of expertise NRF board members would need, in “banking and finance, venture capital, private equity, economics and industry policy—that industrial background that is really important.”

So that should be that – and it will be if the government has the numbers in the Senate. But if they are in doubt there may be room for HE lobbies to convince cross-benchers that their members can fire up the fund.