Manufacturing News

National innovation system and CRC program under review

IN A statement released earlier this week, Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research announced a review of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program as part of a broader review of the national innovation system.

The CRC review highlights the Government’s commitment to science and innovation and will identify areas to further promote and encourage investment and collaboration between research and industry.

“The review will be comprehensive and will consider all aspects of the CRC Program. It will examine the overall strategic direction of CRCs, looking at the full range of issues, including governance and program design issues, the level and length of funding needed to support the program’s objectives, as well as its overall scope and effectiveness.

“The Terms of Reference for the wider review of the National Innovation System are broad ranging and will ensure a thorough and complete review of all elements of the CRC Program is carried out,” Carr said.

“The Rudd Government is absolutely determined to restore public benefit as one of the primary objectives of the CRC Program,” he added.

The CRC Program review will be chaired by Professor Mary O’Kane. Professor O’Kane has extensive experience in high technology, commercialisation, national research strategies and higher education policy.

Stakeholder participation in the review will be central to its success and Professor O’Kane will be announcing in the next few weeks how interested parties can contribute to the review process.

The CRC Program was initiated by the Hawke Government in 1990.

CRCs are provided with funding to develop collaboration between industry, Australian universities and public sector research agencies to develop innovative research concepts into useable products and processes.

Across the program’s lifetime, 168 CRCs have been funded (including 58 current CRCs), with the Commonwealth committing nearly $3 billion to the program since its inception.

“The next CRC selection round will be held once the Government has considered the outcomes of the Review of the National Innovation System,” Carr explained.

“Our aim is to have the next selection process completed by the middle of 2009. I have asked my department to liaise with CRCs about the review and to put in place a process to manage the impacts of a delayed selection round,”Carr said.

The government also announced a review of the National innovation system, to be conducted by an expert panel chaired by Dr Terry Cutler, an expert on innovation and industry policy and currently a Director of CSIRO and Chair of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Excellence for Creative Industries.

The panel will include Professor Mary O’Kane, who will be charged with the specific task of reviewing the Cooperative Research Centres Program.

Senator Carr said he was delighted to appoint Dr Cutler to lead such a distinguished panel and looked forward to receiving a Green Paper by the end of July 2008, to be followed by a White Paper response from Government.

“Innovation is critical to Australia’s national future. Our prosperity, our economic strength and our ability to compete in the global economy, all depend on valuing innovation, harnessing its potential and putting it to work for the benefit of all Australians,” Carr said.

For more information on the review, visit

For more information on the Review of the National Innovation System and the CRC Program review, visit

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