This week, the Minister for Education, Dan Tehan MP, announced measures to improve support for regional students, which would be paid for with a new funding cap on the Research Support Program.
Kylie Walker, CEO of Science & Technology Australia, said recent numbers released by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science showed the overall investment in research and development is falling in Australia.
“Many of our research agencies are only receiving small increases from the government over the next four years, most of which are unlikely to cover inflation and effectively amount to budget cuts,” Ms Walker said.
“The move to cap funding for the Research Support Program – which will effectively be another cut – to pay for the measures announced today, seems to be counter-intuitive.”
She said the nation needed strong, new investment in research and development overall to remain globally competitive, and an engaged and well supported regional universities network would be an important part of that.
“Funding one at the expense of the other is not the solution, and we need to find ways to increase the overall investment in R&D rather than tweaking it at the edges,” Ms Walker said.