These stories clearly articulate the value of taxpayers’ investment in university research and provide direct evidence that research is bringing tangible benefits to the nation which is funding it – namely via our economy and the advancement of the society in which we live. Australia has one of the highest percentages of its researchers in universities amongst developed economies – nearly 60%1 . Australian universities also direct significant investment into research – over $8.2bn by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures for 2010, representing 0.59% of GDP and 69, 199 person years of effort 2 .
As such, the impact for the nation of the research undertaken in our universities is extremely relevant to its future. This ATN/Go8 “Excellence in Innovation for Australia Research Impact Trial” was undertaken to measure the innovation dividend of research generated by Australian universities and as a precursor to a possible companion piece to the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). The recent ERA exercise does not include the capability to measure the end-user benefits of research. Both excellence and innovation are crucial aspects of Australia’s research efforts.