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Government's time starts right now for addressing innovation

25 September, 2008

The health and medical research community welcomed the release of the Review of the National Innovation System green paper recently and called on the Government to act quickly to stimulate research.

“The green paper is a good start for addressing some of the issues that plague our research sector,” said Research Australia CEO Rebecca James.

“Health and medical research has the potential drive major improvements in our nation’s wealth and wellbeing but there are systemic and funding issues that prevent us from achieving our aims.”

The report, Venturous Australia, includes several positive recommendations for the sector, including the Government funding the full cost of research to allow for infrastructure and facilities and increasing the value of postgraduate research scholarships.

These policies have been recommended by Research Australia in its recent submissions to Government.

Commercialisation support remains an issue following the axing of the Commercial Ready program in the 2008-09 Budget. The green paper recommends a repayable grants scheme at a cost of $150 million per annum and the expansion of Government investment funds.

It also replaces the suite of R&D Tax Concessions with a tax credit that will help both large pharmaceutical companies and smaller biotechs.

While these incentives will partially compensate for the loss of Commercial Ready, they do not match Research Australia’s call for substantial new investment to bridge the commercialisation gap.

It is important that the Government takes immediate steps to adequately support companies taking new products and services to market.

“This report gives a strong signal to the government to act on infrastructure, commercialisation and collaboration,” James said.

“It will be important for the Government to continue to listen closely to the concerns of the health and medical researcher sector as they act on these recommendations.”

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