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Media release: Research Universities to be central to Government strategy to meet the challenges ahead

“Australia’s leading research-intensive universities are critical to all aspects of our nation’s future economic prosperity and social well-being and stand ready to partner with the incoming Albanese Government to ensure the nation can reach its full potential,” said Group of Eight Chief Executive Vicki Thomson. 

In congratulating the incoming Government and the successful Independents, Ms Thomson said the Albanese Government’s promised Australian Universities Accord will ensure an opportunity for meaningful and constructive engagement.

“This was a pivotal election. With universities treated as willing and determined partners there is an opportunity to develop what is needed for the economy, health and living standards of the Australian community.”  

The Group of Eight released a series of policy papers during the election campaign – Essential Decisions for National Success – to advise the required Government policy to meet the challenges ahead.  The policy recommendations address areas vital to Australia’s future. These include a review of the research funding model for universities, levers to urgently create the skilled workforce necessary for new and emerging industries and rebuilding our international education sector.

The Go8 is calling for a review of the research funding model for Australian universities which looks at the full economic cost of research and a strong commitment to the future funding of fundamental research.

“That is not a call for more funds – this is about investment in research to assist every Australian’s future. Research drives the prosperity of modern, engaged, successful countries and will be critical to finding effective solutions to the challenges and threats increasingly impacting our society. These include climate change, skills shortages, global pandemics, among many others.

“The shift we’ve seen in Australia’s politics in 2022, and the election of independent candidates campaigning on climate action (and integrity) has demonstrated a community focus on issues that will increasingly depend on evidence-based research to find solutions.  The Go8 consistently produces a range of high-quality, world class research that addresses these challenges and which underpin the success and prosperity of Australia,” said Ms Thomson.

The Go8 has also recommended that an incoming government adopt a Sovereign Capability Charter to ensure essential current and future skills, supply chains and research capacity are accounted for as a matter of course. The success of the major projects Australia needs will only be achieved by working hand in hand with the nation’s research-intensive universities so the nation can benefit both from their highest quality graduates and their above world class research that impacts the future of Australia.

“International education and introducing targeted visa settings will also be critical to ensuring Australia has access to welcoming the global talent pool and having a skilled workforce essential to meet the demands of new and emerging critical industries. International education and research are directly linked to economic growth and the opportunity of higher living standards.

“Australia’s research-intensive universities are at the forefront of research, innovation and technology – seven of our universities are ranked in the top 100 globally. Each and every day our researchers, scientists and innovators tackle the big challenges that make our nation stronger, improve the lives of every Australian and secure our nation’s future.

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472