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Research and development

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Investing in more roads might help boost economic growth, but getting knowledge infrastructure right could take it to a new level. Image sourced from Shutterstock

Australia’s road obsession is holding back productivity

Commentators continue to call for new infrastructure to lift Australia’s flagging economic growth, yet there is a significant lack of awareness over what constitutes infrastructure. Infrastructure is not…
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane (right) wants universities to be more supportive of industry, but without significant funding into research and development, that’s a big ask. AAP

Fund R&D, then maybe universities can support industry

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane let his discretion slip this week in a speech to the Queensland Media Club when foreshadowing an upcoming report on research funding and competition. Distancing himself…
CSIRO is contending with a A$111 million hit to its budget over four years. Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

CSIRO risks backing the wrong horse as it reacts to budget cuts

What happens to CSIRO when the federal government decides to strip away A$111 million over four years from its A$733 million annual contribution to the organisation’s budget? We are beginning to find out…
The chair of the Commission of Audit, Tony Shepherd, on the release of the report today. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

What about science in the Commission of Audit report?

The message from the federal government’s Commission of Audit is loud and clear: science, research and education are expenses to be trimmed rather than investments to be nurtured. Yes, there are few big…
Most innovations form in a network, with a mixture of local and global ingredients. Image sourced from

Four ways to boost Australian innovation

From the days of the gold rushes, to the banking and mining booms of the last 15 years, Australians have long worried that most of the world’s innovation was happening somewhere else. Did our good fortune…
No brainer. Funding for the Human Brain Project is secure until 2016. Ars Electronica

What Swiss migrant referendum means for future of EU research

In a referendum on 9 February, the Swiss population voted against mass immigration. That outcome will have far-reaching consequences on the position of Switzerland in European research cooperation. As…
Spreading its net wide: Chinese research centre in Antarctica. petehottelet

China’s research is taking a leap, UK can take advantage

Two weeks after he was confirmed as the head of the Politburo Standing Committee last year, Xi Jinping led his new committee colleagues on a tightly-choreographed day trip to the National Museum in Tiananmen…
Research and development election policies are a bit thin on the ground at the moment. AAP/Science in Public, Paul Phillipson

Coalition, Labor, Greens … seeking a workable research policy

Building the knowledge economy and a national innovation system should be a priority in the upcoming election but, as of today, only the Greens have released a dedicated research and development policy…
Measuring the impact of research in the real world sounds a bit impossible, but Australia is going to do it anyway. Research image from

Research meets the real world – now comes the hard part

So you’re just recovering from the last ERA (Excellence for Research Australia) assessment? Dust yourself off, Excellence in Innovation for Australia (EIA) is heading our way. This is the new paradigm…
The future of manufacturing lies in making high quality, niche products. Flickr\stevey b

Niche markets can breathe new life into manufacturing

Ford’s announcement that it will cease making cars in Australia is an enormous blow to manufacturing, and especially to the workers involved. But does it mean Australian manufacturing on its deathbed…
Wayne Swan’s budget has been disappointing for Labor’s education legacy. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Does the budget make us a clever country?

The last Labor budget has seen the top half of the Education Revolution fizzle. The ideals that powered the 2009 Gillard policies are in fragments. Demand-driven higher education will survive until the…
Are we seeing an education revolution or counter-revolution? James Bowe

On academic efficiency and the 2013 federal budget

As you may have noticed, the 2013 federal budget is out and, despite his best efforts, Euromoney’s “2011 Finance Minister of the Year” Wayne Swan has missed his earlier predicted budget surplus by almost…
Universities do have a role to play in helping developing countries. University image from

Universities and the poorest billion

The following is based on the Monash Richard Larkins Oration given by Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University last night in Melbourne. You can read and listen to our In…
Around half a billion dollars will be cut over four years from a program that supports Australian research, the MYEFO showed.

Mid-year budget slashes $499m from research support

Almost half a billion dollars will be cut over four years from a program that helps pay overhead costs for Australia’s researchers…
Researchers who have sometimes been waiting years for funding have been left in the lurch by government. Research image from

Time to thaw: the human side of the research funding freeze

The Australian Research Council’s confirmation that all funding awards and rounds are currently frozen has caused major concern, if not panic, in academic circles. The Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook…

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