Securing our future through R&D | Australian Greens

Securing our future through R&D

Our plan to increase Australia’s investment in research and innovation to 4% of GDP.

Our research investment plan will help deliver a highly skilled workforce, vital research infrastructure and incentives for business to participate. We will increase funding, improve access to information, foster national and international collaboration, protect our key research institutions and deliver the research and innovation Australia needs to remain competitive.

A road map to increase R&D investment

Australia has a strong history of science and innovation. We have all benefitted from life-saving discoveries made by Australia’s outstanding researchers. As we move into an increasingly complex and resource-constrained future, our national wellbeing will become ever more dependent on further advances. Australia is in the perfect position to become a leader in the global transition to knowledge-based economies. To do so, we need a robust and nimble research sector.

Australia currently invests about 2.2% of GDP in science, research and innovation from both private and public sources, the equivalent of about $900 per person per year. This is well behind regional competitors Korea (4.3) and Japan (3.6), behind the United States (2.7), and even further behind other world leaders such as Israel (4.1), Finland (3.2) and Sweden (3.2). Australian investment in research and innovation ranks only 13th among OECD member countries, significantly below the OECD average. Worst of all, our public sector investment has been in decline because of cuts by the old parties. Recent announcements by the government only go some way to repairing the damage.

The Greens believe that we need a strong research sector in Australia to help move away from the industries of the past, and to deliver the jobs of the future. This will mean ensuring that every dollar spent on research is spent well, and that our great public research agencies (like the CSIRO, Universities and Medical Research Institutes) work together with each other, with industry and with international partners. We must increase our investment in research and target that investment strategically. We must deliver a stable and dependable funding environment to free our researchers from a rolling funding shortfall.

The CSIRO is Australia’s premier research institution and has a proud history of invention, innovation and pure and applied research in the national interest. The recent job cuts at CSIRO highlight the damage being done from the combined weight of cuts to government funding and a new “industry focused” entrepreneurial orientation for the CSIRO driven by the government and Chief Executive. The Greens want to see new leadership at the CSIRO and would restore government funding to prevent current and future job cuts through an investment of an additional $306.5 million over the forward estimates.

Our plan

The Greens will increase Australia’s investment in science, research and innovation to 3% of GDP by 2025 and aim to get it to 4% of GDP by 2030. 

  • A ‘Protecting Science’ package, consisting of a combined $847.9 million boost to the Australia Research Council, National Health & Medical Research Council, Cooperative Research Centres
  • Restoring funding to the CSIRO and preventing job cuts ($306.5m)
  • Funding for indirect costs associated with research ($201.2m) 
  • Further steps towards default 5 year grants in ARC and NHMRC 
  • Reverse short-sighted Government cuts to the Sustainable Research Excellence program and boost university research ($1,306 m) 
  • Investment in critical infrastructure via Innovation and Science Australia ($422.6m) - Investment in strategic opportunities for international collaboration ($43.4m) 
  • Additional funding for the Future Fellowships scheme to attract and retain top research talents ($297.2m) 
  • Open Access Publishing of Government funded research ($197.7m) 
  • Support for women in science ($213.7m) 
  • Supporting collaborative health research centres to translate the research discoveries into clinical practice ($171.9m) 
  • Support the ongoing development of the Medical Research Future Fund
  • Reverse cuts to R&D offsets ($690m)

Read our plan Science & Innovation