The Cooperative Research Centres Association (CRC Association) welcomes the opportunity to provide some comments on the government’s discussion paper Boosting Commercial Returns from Research. We welcome and applaud the government’s determination and effort to improve commercial returns from research.
In this submission we argue that the direct monetary benefits returns to research institutions, while desirable, will not be the most important factor that will result from an effort to boost commercial returns. The greatest benefits for Australia will be gained through better alignment of our public research institutions with Australian business and industry to improve productivity and create jobs through new and expanded enterprise. Further, the CRC Association believes there are many benefits in the environmental, social and policy areas that can be achieved through conducting research in a more focussed “commercial” fashion.
CRC Association believes government can make a significant difference to improving the commercial returns from Australian research. Improvements can be achieved with no cost to government in our view. We suggest three areas:
- Change the Higher Education Block distribution to encourage industry and commercial returns and to remove current disincentives to publically-funded researchers working with industry;
- Implement an Impact Measure in universities to encourage industry collaboration; and
- Improve skills and training of publically-funded researchers in working with industry (and vice versa).