Building a smart, productive future
1st October, 2013
Science, research and innovation needs steady and purposeful support
The nation’s top scientists and researchers have issued a call to policy makers for a strategic and stable plan for science and research that will stop us falling behind in our region and in the world.
In July this year, Australia’s research and science community formed the Research Alliance, a broad-based grouping of scientific, research, university and public and private sector researchers, who came together to call for a strategic national research policy to build a stronger, smarter Australia.
Since then, the Research Alliance has grown to more than a dozen groups which include the peak bodies in science, higher education, social sciences and humanities, as well as our most eminent scholars from all four learned academies, and our most recent Nobel Laureate.
Following the federal election, the Alliance met formally for the second time and has resolved to continue advocating for research and science as the engine room of national prosperity.
Australia currently invests around 2.2 per cent of our GDP in research, putting us near the middle of the OECD table. But the stop/start nature of funding in the recent past means we are sliding backwards and will continue to do so unless action is taken. Australia should rightly aspire to be in the top half of the OECD table, and has more than enough research talent to justify such an investment.
Whatever the Government commits to research, the investment must be undertaken in a strategic, consistent way with a long-term vision for Australia. The Business Council of Australia has also called for a research and innovation strategy – a three way partnership between government, business and the nation’s researchers for a more productive and innovative nation.
The short-term focus of past investment has left critical projects jeopardised, and very costly research infrastructure underutilised. The nation’s top researchers and innovative industries must be able to plan and get on with the job of tackling our biggest challenges and grasping the greatest opportunities.
The Research Alliance is interested in the big picture for Australia, and the central role science and all other forms of research can play in a flourishing future.
The Alliance is committed to a set of fundamental principles (appended below) that will secure a smarter, more productive and resilient future for Australia.
STA CEO Catriona Jackson, 0417 142 238
Australian Academy of Science Kylie Walker, 0405 229 152