Universities play a central role in Australia’s innovation system and support the business sector, and individual firms, in many direct and indirect ways. Universities provide Australia with a continuing supply of highly educated graduates, knowledgeable about the most recent developments in their disciplines and able to apply their expertise, understanding and skills within the particular circumstances of their employment. Universities are also major generators of the new knowledge which advances understanding and, through its integration with complementary expertise and existing practic
There is an ongoing discussion in Australia on the need to improve the linkages between business and universities. Not surprisingly, this issue tends to receive more attention as financial and budgetary conditions tighten and as governments look for more immediate and visible returns on their investments. This is because capturing the commercial benefits of university research will often depend on business.
Global rankings of universities receive a lot of attention from the media, the higher education sector and individual universities. While such rankings have their shortcomings and the position of individual universities will vary according to the particular criteria a ranking scheme uses to assess institutional excellence, they nevertheless provide a tool that provides information useful for a variety of purposes.
Business and universities are different but complementary parts of the national innovation system and the effectiveness of the system depends on them working together. Linkages require reciprocity and both sectors need to play a role in initiating and strengthening them; neither sector can act in isolation from the other and all parties need to respond to the needs and concerns of the others.
The Group of Eight comprise Australia’s eight leading research universities. Their performance and reputation as research institutions is vital to the international reputation of Australian higher education sector as a whole.
Anyone observing the world in which they live can see how the outputs of research improve our life, work and environment. Some people believe that if governments invest specifically in research designed to produce immediately useful outcomes, it could ensure an even higher return on government investment.
Leaders from the business community and university Vice-Chancellors came together in Sydney today for the launch of an innovative new tool designed to improve university/business interaction.
“World-class research and innovative activities occur every day in Australia's universities, but it can be difficult for individuals and industry to identify and access specific expertise,” said Go8 Chair, Professor Paul Greenfield.
The Go8's submission to the Federal Government's Review of the National Innovation System includes over 20 recommendations designed to ensure that Australia's research and research training systems are capable of underpinning a dynamic economy and society. The Go8 submission stresses the importance of basic research and business / community / university collaboration to innovation, but suggests that arguably the most important function of universities is the cultivation of talent in an environment that values intellectual curiosity. Key recommendations of the Go8's submission include:
In recent years there has been an overall lack of a clear and cohesive research funding policy for higher education which poses real risks in Australia’s ability to sustain research excellence and is likely to lead to a decline in Australia’s research performance at the international level. This could well lead to a decline in the reputation of Australian universities and a consequential decline in Australia’s ability to attract the best researchers and research students and be detrimental to Australia’s economic competitiveness.
This scheme is a joint initiative of the Go8 and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany's national agency for the support of international academic co-operation.
It is one of the world's largest and most respected organisations in its field. Its mission is to advance Germany’s international engagement in the fields of education, science, culture and research.