Universities Australia commends the Federal Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda released today by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.
“The Agenda recognises the fundamental role of science and innovation in improving the international competitiveness of Australian industry which is central to securing future economic prosperity”, the Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson said.
“The Government’s announcement of $12 million to improve the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in primary and secondary schools is important as Australia seeks to ensure it has students properly prepared for higher education and a modern technology based workforce”, Ms Robinson said.
As part of the implementation of the Agenda, the Government has established a new Commonwealth Science Council to improve collaboration between business, universities, research organisations and government.
Ms Robinson congratulated the Science Council members who are: Professor Timothy Davis, Professor Ian Frazer, Professor Nalini Joshi, Professor Tanya Monro, Professor Brian Schmidt, Mr Ken Boal, Dr Michael Chaney, Dr Jackie Fairley, Mr David Knox and Ms Catherine Livingstone.
The Agenda earmarked five key sectors of the economy to establish industry growth centres to pursue global excellence and competitive advantage: food and agribusiness; mining equipment, technology and services; oil, gas and energy resources; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing.
Ms Robinson said that Australia’s universities are undertaking world-leading research in the key sectors identified by the Australian Government.
“Universities Australia has long been advocating for greater collaboration between universities and business and looks forward to working with the Government through the planned roundtables to deliver the Agenda.
“As the Prime Minister and Minister Macfarlane acknowledged today, less than five per cent of Australian businesses turn directly to the higher education sector’s researchers for expertise and ideas.
“At the same time, as the Prime Minister also made clear today, there is a strong role for basic research to improve knowledge of the world around us, some of which leads to commercial applications, such as the outstanding discoveries of Wifi and the Cochlear implant”, Ms Robinson said.