Universities Australia’s big research call

What research can deliver if unis get what they need : “a renewable, inexhaustible driver of productivity growth and competitiveness”

UA’s submission to the new Productivity Commission inquiry on, productivity, includes ideas on new ways the government should fund its members to teach more but research is in its big policy picture.

Responding to the present government research commercialisation strategy, UA adds to previous calls for “a balanced approach,”  which requires government “providing the patient funding” that discovery research requires.

And in terms pitched to appeal the PC’s ideological intestines. UA suggests that the existing emphasis on funding research and development through private sector tax concessions does not deliver.

“Australia firms have become slower to adopt, innovate and improve their productivity performance, which can explain part of the slowdown in aggregate productivity growth,” UA suggests.

“In 2019-20, Government provided $2.7bn of support to industry through the Research and Development Tax Incentive with almost no say in how that R&D should be focused in the national or economic interest. It is also unclear how Government measures the value or return of this investment.”

UA accordingly invites the PC to “consider the appropriate balance of the Government’s investment in university research to enhance Australia’s productivity.”

It’s not a suggestion a Morrison ministry is likely to take up – but an Albanese administration might. Labor took a proposal to the 2019 election for a 10 per cent tax premium, for businesses that “collaborate with researchers in universities and public research agencies to create new knowledge.”

Scroll down for what else UA wants the PC to do