The Group of Eight (Go8) – an alliance of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities – notes with disappointment the release of figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that show that State and Commonwealth Government investment in Research and Development (R&D) in 2016-17 dropped to a decadal low of 0.19% of GDP.
Vicki Thomson, Chief Executive of the Go8, says that this continues a more than worrying trend of R&D investment in Australia.
“Today’s figures show that the total direct investment in R&D – through Commonwealth Government organisations such as CSIRO – is in decline having decreased by $118 million or 5% between 2014-15 and 2016-17. Government investment in pure basic, strategic basic and applied research are all down.
“The drop in basic research funding is particularly concerning as it is the start of Australia’s research pipeline.
“These results follow hard on the heels of figures that show that Higher Education R&D expenditure has plateaued and is significantly supported by untied university funds. We’ve also seen changes that reduce investment in the R&D Tax Incentive by around $2 billion over the forward estimates.
“A nation walks away from investing in research at its peril. Research creates jobs, stimulates the economy, saves and changes lives and contributes significantly to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the Australian community.
“For its part, the Go8 undertakes over $6 billion of R&D every year and earns approximately 70% of Government competitive research funding to the sector. Soon to be released modelling for the Go8 shows the great impact of Go8 research on our national economy including a nearly 10 to 1 return from Go8 research in spill over activity in the economy.
“As a nation we must see the value of across the board support for research and back in our world class research system,” said Ms Thomson.
Contact: Vicki Thomson Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472