Universities Australia backs call to invest in nation’s research future

A new report to the Federal Government provides compelling evidence for strong and sustained support for Australia’s research workforce.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the rapid research brief commissioned by the National Covid-19 Co-ordination Commission shows the scale of damage to our precious research sector across the nation.

“Australia’s research workforce will be hard hit by the pandemic and the effects are likely to be felt for years to come.”

The report says impacts include:

  • university job losses of up to 21,000 full time equivalent (FTE) positions over the next six months;
  • decline in revenue across the sector of between $3 billion and $4.6 billion in 2020;
  • the loss to university R&D is estimated at $2.5 billion in 2020, placing at risk at least 38% of research salaries; and
  • there are concerns that women, early-career researchers and recent graduates will disproportionately experience negative impacts.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said a dramatic decline will have very serious effects – including a reduced capacity to innovate for industry – setting back national recovery.

“Universities perform around 90 per cent of the fundamental research undertaken in Australia and 43 per cent of all our nation’s applied research.

“Universities feed the entire research system, which in turn feeds national prosperity.”

“With Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery at stake, we’re asking the Commonwealth to rethink, and to reinvest in research,” Ms Jackson said.

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