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Government urged to tackle 14-year decline in R&D investment

Health Industry Hub | May 16, 2024 |

Medical: There is an urgency to counter the fourteen-year downward trend in research and development (R&D) investment, positioning Australia unfavourably below the OECD average and hindering its competitiveness on the global stage.

In the Federal Budget, the government announced a strategic examination of the nation’s R&D system, which has been welcomed by the Australian Academy of Science.

Academy President, Professor Chennupati Jagadish, said “The Academy has been arguing the case for this long-overdue whole-of-sector analysis since 2018. It is a necessary precursor to the creation of a strategic roadmap that can direct R&D in Australia and reverse the 14-year decline in investment that has left Australia uncompetitive and ill-equipped to meet our national ambitions.”

Presently, Australia’s investment in science and research spans across 227 programs and 15 federal portfolios, with diverse ministerial and departmental responsibilities.

Professor Jagadish stressed “A strategic examination of Australia’s R&D system is the first step to align national effort across the whole of government, industry, universities and philanthropy to create an environment where investment is effective, strategic and scaled.

“The examination is cross-portfolio and cross-sectoral and is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create the necessary conditions for science and research to maximise its contribution to our national prosperity.”

Earlier this month, the Academy announced its development of a 10-year plan aimed at ensuring Australia’s scientific readiness to navigate an unpredictable future and advance local and global interests.

Professor Jagadish affirmed that the Academy’s forthcoming 10-year plan, slated for publication later this year, will complement the strategic evaluation outlined in the Budget, offering an additional and independent perspective on Australia’s scientific trajectory.

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