OECD data shows that Australian researchers are less engaged in collaboration with industry than their counterparts in other countries. This is of particular concern for Australia given the large proportion of our researchers in the public sector. Calls to address this problem have increasingly been heard from government and industry.
ATSE proposes an initiative that will lead to increased collaboration between Australia’s public sector researchers and business. It should also increase the impact of public sector researchers in both the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and humanities and social sciences (HASS) fields on the Australian economy, the environment and society.
The Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) initiative encourages university researchers to publish quality research in highly cited journals and rewards this behaviour by allocating approximately $65 million per annum based on ERA outcomes. While research excellence is desirable in its own right, the ERA is having the unintended effect of discouraging university researcher engagement with business. A counterbalancing measure is needed to ensure that collaboration is appropriately recognised and rewarded.