INTRODUCTION

from the Chair and the Chief Executive

Margaret Gardner.jpg Catriona Jackson.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The world is an intensely competitive place — particularly in higher education and research.

And strategy shapes destiny, as our global economic competitors and partners know.

Countries like South Korea, China and the United Kingdom are making smart and strategic investments in university education and research today - to secure jobs, wages, industries and prosperity tomorrow.

Australia must too. For, if we don’t, we will miss out on our slice of that prosperity.

That’s why the $1.9 billion commitment on crucial national research infrastructure – affirmed in last month’s federal Budget – is important.

In this HIGHER ED.ITION, Innovation and Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash has written for us on why this investment matters for future jobs and productivity. She notes that access to world-class equipment and facilities is critical to keep Australia at the forefront of advanced science, research and innovation in an increasingly competitive global environment.

Meanwhile, a sustained and strategic investment in university education is crucial to jobs, productivity and our future skilled workforce.

That’s why Labor’s pledge to restore the demand driven system if elected has been strongly welcomed by the university sector.

The Opposition’s universities spokesperson Terri Butler has penned a piece on the opportunity that will create for up to 200,000 more Australians, and shared personal insights on how university access is crucial to opportunity. She writes of the importance of education to mitigate increasing inequality and strengthen communities.

Continuing the theme of strategic thinking in investments, Queensland University of Technology Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil appeals for a strong emphasis in our national policy framework on blue sky or basic research. While industry-partnered and applied research is also crucial, she contends that we need to keep an eagle eye on ensuring the balance between them is right.

And UA Deputy Chair and Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry writes about how clever investments by Governments at all levels are invigorating Australia’s space-science capability – and creating future jobs and industries from radio astronomy breakthroughs

As she steps into the role of Chief Executive, Catriona outlines her commitment to both opportunity and investment. She writes of the powerful personal stories of Australian talent unearthed and unleashed on Australia’s campuses thanks to the uncapped system of places. And she notes the recent study by AlphaBeta for the Foundation for Young Australians which finds enterprise skills acquired in a university degree can fast-track a young person into full-time work 17 months sooner than those without that education edge.

Also in this edition, we recap our pre-Budget advocacy on the economic impact of the university funding freeze. It will have significant implications for the future strength of our economy. Economic modelling finds there would be a hit to Australia’s GDP of up to $12 billion and a hit to federal tax of up to $3.9 billion over the next 20 years as a result of the freeze. Simply put, each additional graduate in the economy brings $471,000 extra to Australia’s gross domestic product and $152,000 in tax.

We hope you enjoy this edition.

Until next time,
Professor Margaret Gardner and Catriona Jackson
Chair and Chief Executive
Universities Australia

Articles

june // 2015

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