Skill build - nation build: meeting Australia's research workforce needs

24 Sep 2010


  • Innovation and better economic and social outcomes for Australia can only be achieved by building our national intellectual capacity.
  • An ongoing supply of quality researchers is essential for Australia’s long term economic strength and positioning on an international scale.
  • There is growing concern and evidence that under the status quo, demand for research‐trained graduates will outstrip supply. Therefore there is an urgent need for action to address the future supply of the research workforce via expansion and review of Australia’s higher degree by research (HDR) training mechanisms.
  • Excessive delays to addressing our research workforce requirements will potentially halt Australia’s forward economic momentum and international competitiveness.
  • A shared partnership and understanding between universities and industry around the critical value of research graduates and the best ways to utilise their capabilities, must be addressed.
  • A clear and consistent Australian Government policy, funding and supporting early career researchers and HDR graduates, is critical to retaining and developing the Nation’s research workforce.
  • It is critical that the Australian Government reassess immigration requirements for international HDR students and research‐qualified graduates.

The shape and direction of Government policy that is urgently needed to address key issues is:

  • An increase and improvements to Research Training Scheme funding.
  • Improvements and changes to migration policies, including additional visa categories.
  • A clear definition of “Government” responsibilities to ensure appropriate coordination within and between Government agencies.
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