Media releases

Media Release: Australia’s National Science Statement more of a tunnel vision for Australia

22 Mar 17

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is disappointed with the lack of vision presented in the Federal Government’s National Science Statement. While the statement continues the tradition of platitudes towards science and research they have again missed the opportunity to make Australia the world leader the research and innovation.

By its own admission Australian universities are home to 45,000 postgraduate FTE postgraduate students with over 10,000 students completing research degrees in 2015. This is a large percentage of the Australian research workforce that provides over half of the human resource hours within universities but the idea of adequately funding research training seems to escape the Federal Government yet again.

Research training itself seems to be lacking completely in the Federal Government’s Science Statement except for a single throwaway line about “research training and leadership in science of high quality”. Out of the “Principles for government science policies and activities” there is not a single mention of research training being a guiding principle for the government.

In the Science Statement it is mentioned that research training equips graduates with the abilities that are fundamental to the knowledge economy and essential for innovation, an idea that CAPA has always held as the real benefits to research training.

“It is mind boggling that the Federal Government can trumpet the innovation agenda but at no point ever consider adequately funding research training which has been cut repeatedly in the past.” Said CAPA National President Mr Peter Derbyshire.

“Ever since the Federal Government started touting the innovation agenda we have hoped that it would be accompanied with adequate research training funding but alas we are disappointed yet again. It will just mean a continuation of cash-strapped students having to fund their own research out of their pocket.” Said Mr Derbyshire.

CAPA again calls for an increase to research training funding in universities to train the innovators needed in the future and put their funding where their rhetoric is.

END.

For comment: Peter Derbyshire CAPA National President M: 0435 047 817 president@capa.edu.au

http://www.science.gov.au/scienceGov/NationalScienceStatement/index.html