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The Australian Universities Accord final report is a blueprint for a thriving university sector that can power research and innovation to diversify and drive Australia’s future economy.

The nation’s peak body for scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians has welcomed the report and particularly its unequivocal acknowledgment of the importance of university research to the nation and a strong focus on how to boost Australian research.

Science & Technology Australia’s submission urged the panel to encourage government to invest in the nation’s future through a significant increase in the country’s research heft.

“To safeguard Australia’s future and create the economy of tomorrow we need to invest in research, and universities are the engine rooms of research and innovation in the country,” said STA Acting CEO Sandra Gardam.

“We are delighted to see the expert panel for the Universities Accord recommend boosting Australia’s R&D investment.

“The way to do this is by setting an R&D target of 3% of GDP by 2035 with an interim target of 2.5% by 2030, and STA will continue to advocate for this to ensure the nation doesn’t fall further behind our economic competitors.”

“We strongly welcome the recommendation of a review of the research sector – this is something STA has advocated for on behalf of our members, and it will help set the plan to reach the 3% of GDP investment target.”

“This review is also a vital opportunity to connect the disparate parts of our R&D system to maximise benefit for Australia.”

“We welcome the recommendations aligned to STA’s consistent advocacy that include substantial extra funding for the Australian Research Council, longer grant periods to give researchers greater certainty in their careers, stable and increased funding for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, increasing stipends for PhD Students, and dedicated fellowships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers.”

“And we welcome a move towards fully funding the indirect costs of research, but care must be taken to avoid unintended consequences for universities’ capacity to invest in strategic blue-sky research in areas with competitive advantage and maintain crucial underpinning research infrastructure.”

“We also welcome the strong focus on building First Nations leadership across the university sector, and our recommendation to provide secure funding for the National Indigenous STEM Professionals Network should be part of supporting this work. We also warmly welcome the recommendation for a First Nations-led review to examine how best to support First Nations research, researchers and knowledge.”

“We commend the Australian Universities Accord panel – led by chair Professor Mary O’Kane AC – for their work, and look forward to working with the government to implement its recommendations.”

About Science & Technology Australia
Science & Technology Australia is the nation’s peak body representing more than 115,000 scientists and technologists. We’re the leading policy voice on science and technology. Our flagship programs include Science Meets Parliament, Superstars of STEM, and STA STEM Ambassadors.


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