Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Questions without Notice
Research and Development
My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth. The Morrison government is securing Australia's economic recovery by investing in technology and research. Will the minister please update the House on the government's university research commercialisation agenda and how this plan will create more Australian jobs?
I thank the member for Boothby for her question. It's nice to get a further question on education policy from this side of the House, because the member for Sydney, despite her interjecting over there, has asked one question on education in 12 months. Such is her concern about education policy.
An important part of our plan to secure Australia's economic recovery—
Opposition members interjecting—
is to get the best brains at our universities to work with our business leaders to convert their great research into products, into new companies and, ultimately, into jobs and wealth creation. This close collaboration between academics and businesses occurs so well in places like Silicon Valley and the innovation country of Israel, but in Australia we know that we can do better. To be fair, we have brilliant research. We punch above our weight in primary research, but on nearly every metric of research commercialisation, we don't do as well as we should be doing. We want to change this. We want to be more like the United States. We want to be more like Israel in this regard, where universities do work with business to create new products, to create new companies, to drive the economy to create wealth for the nation.
Last week we announced a first step towards seeing this happen. We are investing $243 million in what we are calling 'trailblazer universities'. These are going to be universities that are hungry to aggressively go down the research commercialisation path and that can showcase to others how it can be done. They are going to be trailblazers. They'll be focused on this task. They'll receive $50 million each in order to do the job to recruit the best and to purchase kit. In exchange, they'll be focused very much on research commercialisation, have industrial relations frameworks to underpin it and absolutely showcase what can be done in this area.
This has been warmly welcomed by the business community and university leaders alike. The Business Council of Australia, for example, said that this will 'help give us an edge in the global battle to turn our ideas into new industries, new jobs and new opportunities'. Universities Australia said that this investment 'will ensure that the best and brightest can play their role in our nation's recovery from the pandemic'. This is what this particular program is going to do. It is the first instalment of our research commercialisation agenda. There will be more to come. We want to see our universities work with industry to create the jobs of the future.