Chief scientist calls for better collaboration, targeting of research funds

A new report from the Chief Scientist’s office
sees Ian Chubb calling for more strategic research funding and improved
performance in science and innovation.

The report, Benchmarking Australian Science, Technology and Mathematics,
singles out Australia as lacklustre in international patents, student science
performance, and business/research collaboration.

“We’re not bad but we’re not as good as we
could be,” he said of Australia’s record in research, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Australia was, however, strong in the number of researchers
in the world’s top one per cent, 5.5 per cent of the world’s most-cited
academics in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) disciplines.

However, among comparable nations, only the UK
had also decreased the number of international patents held in the last decade.
For China and Japan, for example, their IP portfolios had increased by 1000 and
300 per cent respectively.

In an interview with The Australian Financial
Review
, Chubb repeated his recommendation that Australia improve the way it deploys research funding, pre-emptively answering criticism about “picking
winners”.

“The reality is when you can’t do everything, you’ve
got to pick where you spend your money,” he told The AFR, adding that other
countries were showing the way to drive the agenda.

“They say ‘we are going to get the right amount,
in the right place, at the right time, from the public purse,” he said.

Image: Andrew Meares/Fairfax

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