The nation’s science and technology sectors will seek federal election commitments from political parties and candidates to powerfully strengthen incentives for business to invest in economy-boosting research and development, and double Australia’s investments in research breakthroughs by universities.
At Science & Technology Australia’s annual Leadership Dialogue, its 138 member organisations representing 115,000 scientists and technologists called for bold new investment commitments at the next election to re-industrialise Australia’s economy and strengthen the nation’s STEM workforce.
Key to that objective is a bold ramp-up of investment in wealth-creating research and development, with STA members strongly endorsing a proposal for political parties to set a target for R&D of 3% of GDP by 2035, with an interim target of 2.4% by 2030.
The recent Impact Assessment of ARC-funded Research report found every dollar invested in Australian research generates $3.32 in economic returns for the country.
Noting the Inflation Reduction Act in the US, Australia’s STEM sector leaders also issued a call to reindustrialise Australia’s economy with through a coordinated strategy across the country’s R&D investment spending, research grant agencies, and policy levers.
They also urged backing for STA’s plan to train Australia’s first generation of ‘bench-to-boardroom’ scientists to deliver the next wave of economy-boosting products and services.
“Science and tech leaders in Australia and the vast sectors they represent are focused on the immense contribution that research and development can make to the country’s future jobs and income, and how that R&D can enable Australia to create a powerful new economy led by advanced manufacturing,” said Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert.
“The call they’ve made to political leaders for the next election would powerfully boost the nation’s capacity to enhance the economy through R&D now,” she said.
“It also sets out a clear path to create the economy we all want – rich in discovery and innovation, with a strong manufacturing base to commercialise those ideas, and thriving and generating new jobs in an era of fierce global competition for science and technology breakthroughs.”
“Around the world, major economies are taking strong steps to rebuild their manufacturing bases. In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act commits $520 billion to funding and building a clean technology industry.”
“With smart investment choices now, Australia can put itself in the driver’s seat for a new industrial age, and secure the country’s future economy, today.”