Union backs discovery-research insulated from industry

The National Tertiary Education Union’s submission to the House of Representative s committee inquiry on research administration will be loved in labs where researchers conduct discovery-research which may, or may not, have any industry application.

“A primary focus on commercialisation will distort publicly funded scientific investigation and become a disincentive for discovery-driven research and innovation. Government must recognise the specific basic and discovery-led research strengths in public research and safeguard this by championing the role of public investment in delivering basic and discovery-led research,” the union argues.

It recommends “drawing a line against political or corporate influence in the peer review process.”

The NTEU makes 12 recommendations including;

* create a university research finance corporation, to provide advice and serve as a contact for university researchers and commercial partners

* set research block grants in legislation or disallowable regulation

* introduce a research reward fund based on research quality, security (“focused on encouraging best practice workforce planning for career stability”) and impact

* “build collaboration” by increasing funding for ARC Linkage Grants and the CRC Programme

* not extending peer review of research proposals “to business or industry”

* “rigorous accountability standards” for research-industry collaborations

* “reduce the influence of research assessment exercises and the role of research performance metrics on the allocation of public funding”


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