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Forging greater research industry links



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THE HON

CHRISTOPHER PYNE MP Minister for Education and Training Leader of the House THE HON

IAN MACFARLANE MP Minister for Industry and Science THE HON SUSSAN LEY MP

Minister for Health Minister for Sport MEDIA RELEASE

26 May 2015

Forging greater research industry links

The Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, the Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP and the Minister for Health, the Hon Sussan Ley MP today announced the strategy Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research.

The Ministers highlighted that Australia’s research sector is highly productive and recognised globally for the quality of its research. Australia has improved our global share of the top 1 per cent of highly cited publications by 75% between 2005 and 2013.

But, the Ministers also acknowledged, when it comes to collaboration between business and researchers Australia’s performance falls away.

Minister Pyne said that the Government was determined to address the challenges Australia faces in turning good ideas and research breakthroughs into commercial results.

“Despite our strong history in research, Australia ranks last in the OECD on the proportion of businesses which collaborate with research institutions on innovation. Similarly, in 2011, Australia ranked second last of 17 OECD countries on new-to-the-world innovation,” Mr Pyne said.

“For Australia to prosper, we must improve our ability to translate publicly funded research into commercial outcomes. The strategy we announce today includes 14 important actions to support economic growth and to ensure Australia’s competitiveness into the future.”

Minister for Industry and Science the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP said Australia’s future competitiveness depends on collaboration between business and researchers to turn Australia’s strong track record of generating world-class ideas into practical outcomes that benefit our economy and our community and enhance our standard of living.

“The need for reform is clear,” Mr Macfarlane said. “Our universities, science agencies and businesses are critical to capitalising on new economic opportunities and for building our industries and jobs of the future, but they must collaborate more effectively so we can get the most value from our research spending.”

Minister for Health the Hon Sussan Ley MP said the Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) will fund research to help Australians enjoy healthier, more productive lives.

“The Government’s Medical Research Future Fund is expected to reach $20 billion in 2019-20 with more than $400 million expected to be provided to researchers over the forward estimates,” Ms Ley said. “It will help Australians realise both the health and economic benefits of research and is a valuable part of our plan to deliver a smarter investment in improving health outcomes for all Australians,” she said.

Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research is a key initiative under the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda released by the Prime Minister on 14 October 2014.

It arises from extensive consultation undertaken on a discussion paper on Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research released in late 2014.

Mr Pyne said that the Government will ensure that consultation with industry and researchers remains at the core of the strategy’s implementation.

To see the actions under the strategy Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research please see attachment A or visit the following websites:

Department of Education and Training website Department of Industry and Science Website

Mr Pyne’s Media: 0439 764 809, pynemedia@education.gov.au Mr Macfarlane media contact: Kylie Barron 0408 508 673 kylie.barron@industry.gov.au Ms Ley’s media contact: James Murphy 0478 333 974 james.murphy@health.gov.au Education Media: (02) 6240 7300 or media@education.gov.au

Attachment A

Key actions under the strategy Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research

The Government is publishing science and research priorities to align areas of national research excellence with Australia’s industrial strengths, global trends and community interests. Each priority will be supported by practical research challenges developed in consultation with experts from industry, research organisations and government. Where there are gaps, the Government will develop options for allocating research funding to challenges requiring additional attention.

The Government will develop simpler, more transparent research block grant arrangements which continue to focus on quality and excellence, support greater industry and end-user engagement, and better knowledge transfer with industry.

The Government is identifying further opportunities to enhance collaboration between publicly funded research agencies and industry.

The Government has commissioned a review of research training arrangements to prepare excellent researchers who work productively with industry to bring their ideas to market. A highly skilled research workforce is vital to Australia’s future prosperity.

As part of the tax discussion paper [www.bettertax.gov.au], the Government is examining the operation of the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive, within the broader context of reviewing the effectiveness of existing tax incentives for collaboration with public research institutions.

Work on the establishment of the Medical Research Future Fund, announced in the 2014-15 Budget, is ongoing and will provide a significant opportunity to support collaboration between researchers and industry partners to assist in the translation and commercialisation of Australian medical research.

The Government is also working with the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council to ensure rules for competitive grants appropriately recognise industry-relevant expertise or research.

The Government continues to support national world-class research infrastructure to attract the world’s best researchers and facilitate collaboration with industry. It has committed two years of operating funding to the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, a critical element of the nation’s innovation system.

The Research Infrastructure Review is currently underway and will report to the Government in mid-2015. The Review findings will provide a solid base for the Government to plan for national scale research infrastructure to support priority research of national significance. The Government will develop a roadmap for long-term research infrastructure investment.

The Government is developing an intellectual property (IP) Toolkit, with model contracts and case studies, to facilitate collaboration between research and industry. The toolkit will ensure that dealing with intellectual property does not impede research-industry collaboration or frustrate the commercialisation of ideas.

The Government will implement a strategy to provide business with greater online access to research. This will allow firms to more easily identify commercially relevant research as well as potential research partners.

The Government will consider options to consolidate relevant research programmes which focus on industry to increase their scale and effectiveness.

A whole-of-government policy will be developed for opening business and community access to publicly funded research publications and data.

Access to information about collaboration and commercialisation outcomes will improve our performance in translating research into economic outcomes. To ensure real improvements in this area, the Government will work with the research sector and industry to develop a plan to improve the assessment of the research system. This will include improved metrics on engagement and knowledge transfer with industry, research outcomes, and impact.