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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 8

(Question No. 1217)

Senator Archer asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science, upon notice, on 13 June 1986:

(1) How much contract research does the CSIRO undertake for industry.

(2) What action is being taken to increase the amount of contract research that the CSIRO performs for industry.

(3) What incentives exist for industry to contract research out to the CSIRO.

Senator Button —The Minister for Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The cost to industry for contract research performed by CSIRO on its behalf during 1985-86 was $8.471 million. CSIRO also regularly receives non-cash contributions from companies to assist in performing its research-secondment of staff, provision of facilities and equipment, and so forth. These contributions would increase this figure substantially.

In addition during 1985-86 CSIRO received $41.17m from the various rural industry and other contributory fund sources. The bulk of these funds resulted from CSIRO submitting applications for funding to the various fund granting bodies which consider such applications on a competitive basis.

(2) Measures undertaken by CSIRO to increase the amount of contract research performed for industry include:

(a) The use of SIROTECH Ltd to help CSIRO and industry identify areas where contract research would be fruitful and to facilitate arrangements for undertaking and exploiting such research. This is reinforced by the introduction of a joint CSIRO/Manufacturing Industry Collaborative Research Program, and a Collaborative Program on Information Technology.

(b) Increasing the Organisation's commitment to shorter term tactical research on problems of immediate interest to companies.

(c) The introduction of a revenue retention arrangement, whereby CSIRO Divisions are permitted to retain the major portion of any revenue generated through their interaction with industry.

(3) The key incentives for industry to contract research out to CSIRO are: the 150% tax concession without any minimum threshold expenditure, the range of research skills and facilities CSIRO can draw upon, and the wide variety of contract arrangements being negotiated with industry following the creation of SIROTECH.