Universities play an essential role in driving Australia’s international competitiveness and productive capability. Effective investment in the university sector is critical to building and maintaining goodwill, trade and investment. Australian universities are also the major providers of education services to international students, an $18 billion export industry. Universities provide skilled graduates, underpin our research and innovation efforts, and are the cornerstone in delivering education services internationally.

In total, university education added an estimated $140 billion to our economy in 2014.1 The value of the stock of knowledge generated by university research was estimated at $160 billion in 2014, equivalent to almost 10 per cent of Australia’s GDP.2 Universities are central to Australia’s ambitions to seize the new wave of economic prosperity and create an ‘ideas boom’.

A number of critical elements are needed to improve Australia’s ability to grow the economy, create new jobs and improve productivity. As outlined in the National Innovation and Science Agenda, cultural change is needed to bridge the divide between industry and the research sector. This requires strong policy direction and support. UA looks forward to working with the Government and industry to realise the ambitions outlined in the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) in putting innovation at the heart of the Australian economy.

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1. Deloitte Access Economics 2015, The importance of universities to Australia’s prosperity, Deloitte Access Economics Pty Ltd, Canberra.

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