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Media release: Research Universities are central to boosting productivity growth to meet IGR challenges

August 24, 2023

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24 August 2023    

Research Universities are central to boosting productivity growth to meet IGR challenges

Australia’s world leading research universities will play a fundamental role in supporting the Australian Government and community to navigate the challenges outlined in the 2023 Intergenerational Report.

Population growth is slowing and our population is ageing rapidly. This will place unprecedented pressure on the budget, industry and the Australian workforce.  

Group of Eight Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said “productivity is the pressing priority – Australia’s economic growth depends on it. The higher education sector, in particular our research-intensive universities, are integral to the solution.”

“Productivity is the only long-term factor driving living standards and productivity growth relies on research, innovation and human capital. Australia must invest more in knowledge creation and human capital if we are to have profitable and innovative businesses, secure high-wage employment, and address challenges such as an aging population, climate change, and national security needs.

“University research is essential to the productivity gains that deliver economic growth, fundamental to our prosperity and national well-being. The Go8 undertakes 70 percent of all Australia’s university-based research and spends $7.7 billion annually on research.

“The Government’s commitment to lift investment in R&D from 1.7% to 3% of GDP is crucial to the future of Australia’s economy and recognises that R&D performed by universities, businesses, and government is a driver of innovation and a means to reviving Australia’s productivity growth to meet the population challenges highlighted in the IGR.

“Also critical to productivity is a skilled and educated workforce – our universities have a central role to play in ensuring Australia has a skilled workforce capacity, capable of meeting the demands of new and emerging industry sectors.”

As the Treasurer said: “We need a much bigger emphasis on adapting and adopting technology and getting the energy transformation right and skilling our people up. Because I believe that we will get the productivity gains that have been missing in our economy for too long, by investing in our people and their capacities…”

Universities are key to lifting Australia’s productivity, through higher education but also technological research, world changing breakthroughs and the commercialisation of research. Universities also boost Australia’s services exports, helping diversify our export base, and putting Australia on the global map as a knowledge economy and destination for highly skilled migrants.  

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 438 047 155