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Commercialisation no solution to university funding crisis.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Science & Research Shadow Minister for the Public Service

14/03 26 March 2003.

Commercialisation No Solution to University Funding Crisis

“The release today of the report “Best Practice Processes for University Research Commercialisation” closes yet another door on the Howard Government’s desperate search for alternative funding for university research and higher education”, said Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Science and Research.

“For six years the Howard Government has systematically cut public investment, telling universities to find their own money.

“Commercialisation of intellectual property has been held out by this Government as a panacea for the crisis induced by reduced government funding.

“This report follows hard on the heels of the ARC National Survey of Research Commercialisation. Taken together they clearly demonstrate the failure of government policy in this area.

“The ARC report clearly demonstrated the limits to growth in this area, identifying a 3.16% return on investment before costs, with these returns already concentrated in a few richer universities. Today’s report is equally emphatic: “Neither governments nor universities should pursue research commercialisation…as a major source of revenue.” (page 4)

“The longer the results of this Government’s draconian policy review of higher education and research are delayed, more and more of the so-called ‘solutions’ to the Howard Government’s own reluctance to fund universities adequately are being de-bunked,” Senator Carr said.

“It is hardly co-incidental that while university revenue from investment income has increased by less than 30% in the decade 1991-2002, revenue from student fees and charges rose by a staggering 276%.

“With the constraints on revenue from commercialisation now acknowledged, it is clear the Government intends to slug students, as it progressively reduces its own investment in universities and nationally-important research projects,” Senator Carr said.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922 Andrew Reeves 0419892159

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