Media releases

Water is wet but research funding is going through a dry spell

7 Feb 17

Media Release: Water is wet but research funding is going through a dry spell. For Immediate Release

7 February 2017 – The latest performance review of the Australian Innovation and Science Research System by Innovation and Science Australia1 has indicated that business engagement in research and development needs to be improved. In other news water is wet. What concerns the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is that the review also indicates a steady decline in government expenditure on R&D since 2008 and no increase in Higher Education Research funding relative to GDP since 2012.

The Australian research and development sector punches well above its weight in regards to the generation of new knowledge but there is still room for improvement. For half a decade, we have seen no increase in Higher Education Research funding. Where does the Federal Government think the new ideas that can lead to new innovation come from?

“The one thing we do well, according to this review, is generate new ideas and new knowledge,” said CAPA President Peter Derbyshire. “Yet we are slowly but surely turning off the funding tap. How long can our R&D sector grow new ideas in a funding drought?”

Since the National Innovation and Science Agenda2 was released in 2015 it is widely realised that business needs to do more to invest in research and that industry engagement needs to improve. The review recognizes that one way to improve is for the Federal Government to come to the table and directly fund innovation and science in Australia rather than waiting for business to do it all by themselves.

“It is time that the Federal Government got serious about science and innovation instead of just talking about it and hoping the business sector will save the day. Without government directly investing in the commercialization of research and in idea generation within Higher Education, Australia is going to be left behind,” said Mr Derbyshire


For comment: Peter Derbyshire CAPA National President M: 0435 047 817

1 Innovation and Science Australia, (2017) “Performance Review of the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System” Retrieved from Australia/Documents/ISA-system-review/index.html

2 Australian Government, (2015) “National Science and Innovation Agenda” Retrieved from