Senate innovation committee recommends lifting country’s R&D spending

A Labor-dominated senate economics committee on Australia’s innovation system has recommended measures including stability in innovation policy, a council to ensure coherence across various programmes, and to increase the country’s R&D spend relative to GDP.

One of many innovation-themed federal-level reports to have been delivered in recent years, the Senate Economics Reference Committee review tabled the report yesterday afternoon. It received 185 submissions.

Among the recommendations was that public investment in R&D be lifted to three per cent of GDP from the current 2.1 per cent.

Coalition senators commented that the government was “already investing $9.7 billion in science, research and innovation in 2015-16”, though more could be done to “unlock jobs and growth in the economy”.

They also added that targeting an input increase made little sense, citing the European Council’s 2010 decision of setting a goal of spending 3 per cent of GDP goal in R&D by 2010.

“The strategy contained no explanation of how this target would be achieved [and] almost all countries missed their R&D targets by huge margins.

“By 2010 the EU28 average R&D level was 1.9 per cent of GDP, up from 1.8 per cent in 2000, far behind leading countries like the US and Japan.”

According to Professor Roy Green, an expert consultant and contributor to the review, there have been more than 60 federal-level reports, reviews and policy statements on innovation over the last 15 years.

The federal government is due to make its innovation statement on Monday.

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