Securing our future through research and development | Australian Greens

Securing our future through research and development

A roadmap to increase R&D investment to 4% of GDP

The Greens aim 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 to 4% of GDP by 2030

Science is vital to our wellbeing. Knowing more about the world around us enriches us as a species but also gives us the tools to solve some of the world's most pressing problems. Curiosity- driven research and public good science are vital. Science should also be a career for life, where our best and brightest feel that Australia is a secure place to work.

Restore CSIRO funding

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. Government funding cuts and poor executive leadership have put the CSIRO in crisis with more than 250 jobs on the chopping block.

The Greens want to see new leadership at the CSIRO and would restore government funding to prevent current and future job cuts.

Protecting science and research - a $847.9 million funding boost

Australia's economic future is as a knowledge and innovation economy. We need a serious investment in the research and innovation that will deliver us the jobs of the future. As part of our Protecting Science and Research package, the Greens will commit $847.9 million to help drive Australia's evolution from the lucky country to the smart country.

Longer-term and better funding arrangements

The Greens understand the frustration many researchers feel with existing grant application requirements and processes. We also understand that the current process can mean significant job insecurity, especially for early- and mid-career researchers.

Sustainable university research

The Greens will commit $1.306 billion to reverse Government cuts to our most successful University research.

$200 million to phase in 'indirect cost' funding reforms

The infrastructure funding landscape can be complex. When researchers at universities, research institutes and hospitals receive external grants from providers such as the NHMRC and ARC, the funding usually only covers the direct research costs but does not cover indirect costs. These indirect costs include things like rent, electricity, heating, facilities management, administration, HR and can amount to as much as 60% of any direct research dollar.

Boosting research infrastructure

National collaborative research infrastructure is necessary to deliver high quality research and innovation outcomes, to improve national wellbeing and to enable Australian researchers to address key challenges. It is internationally acknowledged that major national research infrastructure, equipment like the synchrotron and the square kilometre array, have a scale and cost that cannot be funded by business or individual research organisations, but require government investment, coordination and support.

Australian science in a changing world

Australia cannot undertake science in isolation. Enhanced strategic ties to the knowledge produced elsewhere are essential in order to capture the benefits and advantages for Australia. If we do not network on an international scale, our best and brightest scientists will take their ideas overseas and stay there, and conversely we will not have access to world- leading thinkers working together with us.

Future fellowship scheme

The Greens will commit an additional $297.2 million to funding the Future Fellowships program for a further 4 years. Strategic and sustained investment in research programs like Future Fellowships leads to an increased domestic research capacity that enhances productivity and helps us address national challenges. The Future Fellowships programs provide salary grants to mid-career researchers over four years, to support them in undertaking research critical to our nation, be that medical innovation, engineering breakthroughs or strategies to address climate change.

Supporting women in science & research

Women account for more than half of all undergraduate students in Australia, but are consistently underrepresented at the higher levels of the academy.

This underrepresentation becomes even more pronounced in the science, technology and innovation fields, including researchers working at the CSIRO and the fellowships designed to attract world-class researchers and world-class research leaders to key positions.

With many women leading their fields in science & research, it is vital that women's place in Australia's future is secured. Some of the barriers facing women are not unique to the science & research community, but can be exacerbated by the precarious employment status that often comes with grant-based funding. By failing to retain more women in the fields of science and technology, Australia is losing the benefit of a significant proportion of our expertise. We need to develop career pathways that can accommodate competing demands, so as to retain the knowledge and skills of women and carers as they move through different periods of their working and personal lives.

Open access publishing

Over $7 billion worth of research in Australia each year is paid for by taxpayers through government-funded grants. The results of this research are published in peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals that are often hidden behind pay-walls. The Greens believe the results of publicly funded research should be widely available so that the maximum benefit can be gained from the knowledge created.

Medical research future fund

The Greens supported the establishment of the Medical Research Future fund which when fully capitalised at $20 billion a year will contribute $1 billion per annum to health and medical research, over the forwards it's is expected to contribute an additional $800 million to innovation.

Better support integrated health research centres

The Greens acknowledge the government's move to increase collaboration in the medical research sector through Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres. However the Greens believe there is a need for greater support for collaboration.

Reversing R&D tax offset cuts

Government incentives to business to invest in research and development are critical to driving Australian innovation.

That is why the government cut of 1.5% to R&D tax offsets are so short sighted. The measures are yet to be legislated, but the government has booked the saving in the Budget. We will continue to oppose the legislation and would reverse the cuts which are worth $690 million over the forwards.

 

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