The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) welcomes the $76 million in increased funding for research training at Australian universities as a good first step to sparking the ideas revolution in Australia.
A $50 million boost to encourage industry engagement in research training will ensure better funded research projects which, at the moment, is sorely needed in Australian universities.
While the boost in funding for applied research is welcome, the funding tap for blue sky research needs to be turned on. Without blue sky research, the smart ideas that will fuel the innovation agenda will be short lived.
“Blue sky research is the basis of which all applied research grows,” said 2017 CAPA President, Mr Peter Derbyshire.
“Research training is the best opportunity for blue sky research to occur. When an HDR student undertakes blue sky research as part of their training, they go out into the innovation sector full of new ideas ready to apply.”
CAPA recognizes the need for research training students to be given the opportunity to better engage with industry and be prepared for the workforce outside of academia. The expansion of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute internship program to 1,400 placements provides students with an excellent opportunity to develop the skills needed in the changing PhD.
“We welcome this increase in funding but also urge the Federal Government to not stop there,” said Mr Derbyshire.
“Increasing funding for industry based research training is essential but we need to ensure that these opportunities extend to all research training disciplines.”
The changes to research training funding, expected implementation of the ACOLA recommendations, and now an increase in funding for industry engagement is a great start but the Federal Government cannot forget the blue sky research that spawns the ideas, and the need for industry engagement across all research disciplines.
For comment: Peter Derbyshire, current Western Branch President and incoming National President, CAPA, firstname.lastname@example.org