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CSIRO becomes a shareholder in Genetic Solutions.

 

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Concerns over CSIRO, Genetic Solutions deal

 

Monday, 07/08/2006

 

There are concerns today that a new commercial relationship between Australia's national science agency and a gene technology company could hurt long-term research projects.

 

CSIRO has signed an agreement with Brisbane-based Genetic Solutions to become a shareholder in the company in exchange for its research into cattle genes.

 

Traditionally CSIRO gets royalties and licensing fees for its work.

 

Mick Keogh from the Australian Farm Institute is worried the deal may change CSIRO's focus, so it is chasing profits rather than undertaking long-term research.

 

"The New Zealand experience suggests that trying to have public research agencies be very strongly focussed on external earnings targets just diverts the whole thing," he said.

 

"Everything becomes short-term, the long-term blue sky projects just get left on the shelf and everything's about chasing earnings for this year or next year."

 

CSIRO says its commercial deals in agriculture are not significant money earners and more than two-thirds of funding still comes from the Federal Government.

 

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