Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson has welcomed the opportunity for the sector to join two high-level working groups which will advise on Australia’s research capability and enhanced engagement between higher education and industry.
Universities Australia Chair and Curtin University Vice Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry will Chair the Research Sustainability working group. Professor Terry will work with a panel of seven vice-chancellors to explore sustainable funding for university research.
University of Technology Vice-Chancellor Attila Brungs will chair the working group on co-designing the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund, announced as part of the Government’s universities reform package last week. Education Minister Dan Tehan has said the $900 million fund aims to enhance engagement between higher education and industry, with a strong focus on STEM industries.
Ms Jackson said: “More than 450,000 students participate annually in industry-led projects, fieldwork, practical simulations, and work placements. We are keen to work with industry to provide more of these opportunities. Students value them highly and they lead to jobs.”
“The sector looks forward to working with the Minister to co-design the fund.”
Ms Jackson said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted important issues with the way research is supported in Australia, and that it is was time to examine the system with excellence and sustainability front of mind.
“Our challenge is to find ways of ensuring our world-leading researchers have the resources they need to contribute to Australia’s economic recovery.”
“Every $1 invested in higher education research and development is linked to a $5 return to our gross domestic product.
Ms Jackson said there was a clear link between R&D investment and the new innovations and productivity increases that will be crucial to Australia’s post-pandemic recovery.
“We are pleased to be working with Government to deliver solutions to these important challenges.”