Minister Greg Hunt has signalled a potentially very important change to the Cooperative Research Centres Program. He wants to have the ability to call for, or prioritise, national interest themes in future CRC funding rounds – for both Cooperative Research Centres and CRC-Projects. The CRC Association fully supports the Minister’s move.
Priorities for CRC funding rounds are not new. A number of existing CRCs were established as a result of the “priority public good” stream under the previous Labor Government. Ministers have often signalled several priority areas at the commencement of the funding round.
However, sometimes the priorities given were simply too vague to garner a meaningful response – I well remember debates about what “social innovation” meant when it was given as a priority. Calls for CRCs out of sync with the normal competitive funding round have also occasionally caused some confusion.
Through his media release today, Minister Hunt is doing things a bit differently. Firstly, he is seeking the views of the community on what issues should be prioritised.
Secondly, he is clear that any prioritised areas will need to be competitive and assessed on their merits in line with the normal processes.
Thirdly, and very importantly, he has said that the CRC program is open to all sectors and any prioritised areas will be in the national interest.
He has even gone further and named some example areas that many people would perceive as excluded by the current guidelines.
The fast turnaround for consultation will allow for the coming Round 19 of the program to be impacted by the change.
– Tony Peacock
This article on CRC funding was first shared by the CRC Association on 21 December 2016. Read the original article here.
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