A billion dollar boost to university research and a half a billion COVID-19 lifeline for the national science agency are a “shot in the arm” for Australia’s job-creating research capability.
The nation’s peak body for science and technology also backs the Government’s decision to drop a proposed $2 billion cut to the R&D tax incentive to boost sovereign capability and drive economic recovery.
Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert said the “research revival” highlighted the crucial role of science, technology, engineering and maths in the nation’s economic recovery.
“Research and development are job creators, so must be central to the recovery strategy,” she said.
“The billion dollar boost for university research this year is an immediate lifeline to a sector under enormous pressure with the loss of international students during the pandemic.”
“It’s a wise call to drop the proposed cuts to the Research and Development Tax incentive, which STA urged the Government to rethink when COVID-19 hit Australian industry hard.”
“We are also pleased to see the bridging boost for CSIRO and a recommitment to a 12-year funding pledge for major research infrastructure projects through the NCRIS scheme.”
“A $5.8 million promise to scope options to accelerate the translation and commercialisation of research can be a crucial step towards our long-term goal of a Research Translation Fund.”
“A Research Translation Fund to turn more cutting-edge Australian research into products, services and jobs was the centrepiece of STA’s pre-Budget submission.”
Ms Schubert commended the introduction of new funding to support the upskilling of women in STEM through an Industry Cadetship program.
“Women are still only one in four STEM workers in industry, so further measures to boost women’s participation in the private sector are needed and welcome,” she said,
STA has also welcomed last week’s announcement of support for the manufacturing sector, through the modern manufacturing strategy and collaboration scheme.
Key Budget measures confirmed tonight include:
- A $1.0 billion boost to university research in 2020-21 through the Research Support Program;
- $459.2 million over four years to the CSIRO to fill the budget hole in commercial revenue the nation’s science agency will be able to generate amid the pandemic;
- Dropping proposed cuts to the R&D tax incentive, keeping $2 billion in the nation’s R&D system over the next four years;
- $5.8 million this year for the Department of Education, Skills and Employment for a scoping study of options to accelerate the translation and commercialisation of research;
- $47 million more than previously estimated in Cooperative Research Centre funding;
- A reaffirmation of the 12-year funding commitment to the 2016 National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Roadmap;
- $25.1 million over 5 years from 2020-21 to create a Women in STEM Industry Cadetship program, and $35.9 million over 5 years for the Boosting Female Founders initiative to support women-founded startups;
- A $41 million research and development program to support regionally-based industries; and
- $27 million to boost curriculum resources and STEM education for primary and high school students.