Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Super-Seeded Science

By Anna-Maria Arabia

The increase in compulsory superannuation contributions provides an opportunity to commercialise our research efforts.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

You wouldn’t be blamed for being cynical when the science sector sought the support of the growing $1.4 trillion superannuation industry to turn good ideas into national wealth. It turns out that a dialogue between the science and superannuation sectors was smart and forward-looking.

Australia has always been stronger at performing research than translating it into products and services. This is not surprising given that the incentives and measures of research success are academic in nature. Time spent filing patents, working with industry, advising governments or spinning off companies is time away from publishing papers in the top journals. The Australian research funding system not only provides a disincentive to engage in entrepreneurial activities, but it actively punishes the effort.

There is a pressing need to restructure funding arrangements to encourage translation in a way that does not jeopardise basic discovery. Not a trivial task, but not impossible. Israel has built its national prosperity on innovation and maintains a strong research effort, with publication and citation rates being among the best in the OECD.

So for a nation overachieves in terms of scientific output, why is Australia underachieving when it comes to driving innovation and creating a prosperous knowledge economy?

Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie argues that...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Anna-Maria Arabia is CEO of Science & Technology Australia.