Monday, 08 November 2021 11:18

STEM group calls for R&D increase to boost economic recovery Featured

Misha Schubert: "Australia should set itself a vision to become a global STEM superpower, with a bold investment target in R&D." Misha Schubert: "Australia should set itself a vision to become a global STEM superpower, with a bold investment target in R&D." Courtesy STA

A lobby group for the science and technology sectors has urged political parties to pledge a sizeable boost in research and development funding to spur an economic recovery led by the STEM sectors.

Science & Technology Australia represents 90,000 STEM professionals in the research and private sectors, commercialisation hubs and deep-tech start-ups.

A statement from STA, following its annual leadership dialogue, said Australia could become a top-10 leader in STEM disciplines in the OECD if it had the vision to announced bold targets.

The various groups are yet to finalise their election policies, but said they were agreed on the following:

"Make Australia a global STEM superpower by growing R&D investment to lift Australia into the top 10 OECD countries (relative to the size of the economy).

"Invest in a $2.4 billion Research Translation Fund to drive income-generating commercialisation of Australian research and create thousands of new jobs.

"Craft a comprehensive plan across government to co-ordinate R&D strategic investment, policy and roles to seize competitive strategic advantage for Australia.

"Embolden discovery research by boosting investment in the major grant agencies to catapult breakthroughs and secure the science workforce with a bridge to the other side of the pandemic.

"Tackle the broken system of insecure work tied to competitive research grants especially for Australia's early career scientists - the future of the profession.

"Commit to keep funding the national science agencies in the coming term by at least current levels of investment indexed by CPI.

"Develop a comprehensive plan to transition to a net-zero emissions economy and safeguard Australia's unique biodiversity.

"Renew a long-term investment in the nation's vital research infrastructure through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

"Craft a plan to tackle a decline in STEM achievement of Australian school students and stop the brain drain of our children out of STEM.

"Make a further commitment to programs to boost diversity and inclusion in STEM to ensure the nation draws on the widest possible pool of talent."

STA chief executive Misha Schubert said: "Science and technology have guided us safely through a once-in-a-century pandemic - now we need to deploy them to create new jobs and drive Australia's economic recovery.

"To achieve that goal, we need a once-in-a-generation bold investment to secure the new sovereign capabilities Australia needs in science and technology - an investment that will generate vast economic returns and new jobs for the nation."

"Bolder strategic R&D investment in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, clean energy, medical technologies, agtech, and a wide array of frontier science and technology will seed jobs and investment - and economic opportunities for our kids."

"Australia should set itself a vision to become a global STEM superpower, with a bold investment target in R&D, in a clear-eyed strategic push to seize future jobs from our economic competitors."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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