The Cooperative Research Centres (CRCA) Association has welcomed the reaffirmation of the Government’s commitment to the Cooperative Research Centres Program in the 2021/22 Federal budget, along initiatives to support R&D, science and research and industrial PhDs.
“The CRC Program is the flagship in the innovation system, and the CRC Association welcomes the Morrison Government’s ongoing commitment to it – and the commercial, economic, and social gains that is creates,” said CRC Association Chief Executive Officer, Jane O’Dwyer.
“We are delighted to see that the Government continues to support the program with an investment of more than $800 million over the four-year budget period. It is a significant investment, but one that provides extraordinary return in terms of commercial, economic, and social benefits for Australia.
“Successive reviews have confirmed that real benefit to Australia of the CRC Program – with the most recent Impact Assessment by estimating that between 1992 and 2017, the CRC Program added 0.03 percentage points of GDP growth per year to the Australian economy, generating more than $14 billion in direct economic benefits to the nation from CRC produced technologies, products and processes.”
“The program celebrates 30 years this year, and its real and ongoing impact has ensured that it is seen as a critical element in our innovation system.
The CRC Association also welcomes the Government’s industrial PhD initiative, which provide under the Research Training Scheme $30,000 per research PhD graduate who undertakes a three-month industry internship, on top of the $30,000 or $70,000 base funding to universities for PhD completions.
“Industry experience and industry focussed PhDs transform our innovation landscape by creating a workforce that is skilled in working across industry and academia. Every support to provide students with that experience is welcome,” said Ms O’Dwyer
“Currently, there are around 400 PhD students doing industrial research at CRCs in Australia, and we believe there is a real opportunity to boost industry experience of research by creating a full Industrial PhD scheme like the Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in the UK, the French CIFRE and the Danish Industrial PhD programme.”
“We are also keen to see more pathways open for the return, and recruitment, of PhD students to Australia. Australia has a long history of attracting some of the best talent in the world, as well as growing talent here, a mix that is essential in areas of innovation in which we can lead the world.”
The CRC Association also welcomes key budget measures to support industry growth and innovation capabilities such at the Patent Box, the Global Science and Technology Diplomacy Fund, investment to boost the participation of women in STEM through industry-focussed university scholarships, assistance for access to Commonwealth procurement, investment in key science agencies and an indication that the Government would streamline visas for attracting global talent.