Peak body Science & Technology Australia has used its annual Leadership Dialogue to call for bold R&D investment commitments to be taken to the next election.
In a statement on Monday, STA – which counts 138 member organisations representing 115,000 scientists and technologists among its members – said it would seek commitments from political parties and candidates to help double Australia’s investments, supporting research breakthroughs by universities and the re-industrialisation of the economy.
STA said its members “strongly endors[e] a proposal for political parties to set a target for R&D of 3% of GDP by 2035, with an interim target of 2.4% by 2030.”
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released in August show gross expenditure on R&D up eight per cent over the last two years recorded.
Relative to GDP, however, it dropped 0.12 per cent to 1.68 per cent, continuing a downward trend over the last decade.
“Science and tech leaders in Australia and the vast sectors they represent are focused on the immense contribution that research and development can make to the country’s future jobs and income, and how that R&D can enable Australia to create a powerful new economy led by advanced manufacturing,” said Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert.
“The call they’ve made to political leaders for the next election would powerfully boost the nation’s capacity to enhance the economy through R&D now.
“It also sets out a clear path to create the economy we all want – rich in discovery and innovation, with a strong manufacturing base to commercialise those ideas, and thriving and generating new jobs in an era of fierce global competition for science and technology breakthroughs.”
STA cited steps taken around the world – including in the USA through the Inflation Reduction Act – are using policy to rebuild their manufacturing industries.
The next federal election will take place in 2024 or 2025.
Picture: credit Science & Technology Australia