The Morrison Government will change the research funding settings to direct more money into research collaborations between universities and businesses to drive innovation and support Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.
The Government will direct a greater proportion of the $800 million per year in research grants provided through the Australian Research Council (ARC) to projects funded through the schemes of the Linkage Program, which funds research into areas of national priority and applies advanced knowledge to problems.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the change would effectively increase the amount of funding available for important industry-engaged research by around $30 million a year.
“Australia’s post-COVID economy recovery will require universities and businesses working together to commercialise research, turn ideas into jobs, and deliver productivity gains and economic growth,” Mr Tehan said.
“Encouraging greater collaboration between universities and businesses will ensure we are producing job-ready graduates with the skills that will be in demand for the jobs of the future.
“Our Government is increasing support for applied research in recognition of the present need to generate strong return on our research investment, and to enable businesses to increase their productivity through innovation.”
This change in ARC approach will complement recent announcements to improve how universities and industry can work together to drive the national interest:
- An additional $1 billion for university research in the budget.
- $157 million for research infrastructure in the budget.
- $5.8 million to design a scheme to accelerate turning university research into new products, job creation, productivity gains and economic growth.
- $900 million Industry Linkage Fund, created as part of the Job-ready Graduates package, that will incentivise university engagement with industry and focus on creating more STEM-skilled and job-ready graduates in areas of industry and community priority.
ARC funding will continue to be awarded on the basis of a competitive and rigorous peer review process to support the highest-quality researchers and research projects.