Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

We Need Better Collaboration to Optimise Our Research

By Peter Gray

A proposed metric of industry engagement seeks to reward research impact as well as excellence.

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

Australia’s national competitiveness is threatened by the fact that our university researchers are less engaged in collaboration with industry than their counterparts in other countries, according to OECD data.

Government and industry have increasingly called for the problem to be addressed. The Ministers for Industry and Education recently announcing the development of a strategy entitled “Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research” to tackle this issue.

The Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering has been conscious of the implications of the issue for some time, and has proposed the development of a metric to recognise and encourage better collaboration between Australia’s publicly funded researchers and business.

Such a metric would use already reported data – including income received by universities from commercial and industry sources – to create a metric of industry engagement.

The established Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) system encourages university researchers to publish quality research based on metrics such as citation rates, and rewards this behaviour by moderating the allocation of approximately $65 million per year based on ERA outcomes. The behaviours that ERA drives in our university sector are even greater than might be anticipated from this scale of funding, demonstrating that a metrics-based approach...

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