The Universities Accord should make “a once-in-a-generation investment in Australia itself” – dramatically ramping up our national investment in R&D and training a larger STEM-skilled workforce to generate new sources of economic wealth in the pivotal decade ahead.
In its response to the Australian Universities Accord discussion paper, the nation’s peak body representing more than 115,000 scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians has highlighted the high-stakes race we are in to secure the country’s economic future.
Around the world, Australia’s economic competitors are dramatically escalating public investment in R&D to generate new research breakthroughs and grow their STEM-skilled workforces.
They are doing so to make powerful advances in frontier science and technology – including artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantum – that will transform human lives and the global economy.
“The case to ramp up investment in Australia’s universities to boost R&D is clear and compelling,” said Science & Technology Australia President Professor Mark Hutchinson.
“We stand on the cusp of an era of scientific and technological development on a scale and pace unlike any before it in human history.”
“Australia must match our global competitors with a bold plan to escalate public investment in R&D to avert a decline in Australian living standards over the next decade.”
“The Universities Accord is the most effective and logical place for the Australian Government to start to implement its 2022 election pledge to push investment in R&D closer to 3 per cent of GDP.”
“Australia’s world-class university system generates 90 per cent of the country’s discovery research.”
“The Accord should also reverse the damaging cuts to STEM degree funding in the Job-Ready Graduates legislation. That is key to grow the highly-skilled, specialised STEM workforce we need to power advances in quantum, AI, deep tech, AUKUS, and advanced manufacturing,” Professor Hutchinson said.
“The Accord can be a powerful vehicle to deliver an economy powered by science and technology. An ambitious new level of public investment in Australian research breakthroughs should be at its heart.”
Read Science & Technology Australia’s response to the Universities Accord discussion paper here.
Media contact: Martyn Pearce, STA: 0432 606 828