Innovation funding welcome, but not nearly enough

Monday, 29 January 2001

Australia is still a long way off the pace internationally in terms of research and development funding despite the Prime Minister's announcement of a $3 billion Innovation Action Plan, Adelaide University Vice-Chancellor Professor Mary O'Kane said today.

Professor O'Kane said that a report produced in December by Australia's leading universities, the Group of Eight, pointed out that Australia would need to increase total research and development funding by $13.65 billion over the next five years if it was to match even the 1998 OECD average proportion of Gross Domestic Product spent on R & D.

Professor O'Kane said that, although it was not nearly enough, today's announcement would provide some badly-needed funds for important areas of research and education.

"The proposal to establish a loan fund for fee paying postgraduate coursework students is an interesting one and I am looking forward to seeing more details about it.

"I welcome also the emphasis on information technology and biotechnology, two areas of scientific strength at Adelaide University and South Australia generally,

"The increase in funding for the Australian Research Council and the Cooperative Research Centres Program is long overdue, as is the increased support for initiatives which help to commercialise good knowledge product ideas.

"These are all good initiatives, but Australia needs to keep its eye firmly on its long-term international position.

"I hope the Government will continue to tackle the R & D funding crisis and help to get us back where we should be in terms of our international competitive status."


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