Tag Archives: ACDS

Government calls for consultation on uni research fund

Can universities do more – or get more help – in commercialising research to drive the economic growth we need post COVID-19? And how can we facilitate more collaboration between university research and business? It might sound like a familiar refrain, after the $1.1 billion NISA (National Innovation and Science Agenda) was announced in December 2015.

But NISA petered out after 4 years, and the fact that the questions are being asked – and the consultation is happening – is being welcomed by Australia’s top bodies including Science & Technology Australia and the Australian Council of Deans of Science (ACDS).

Minister the Hon Alan Tudge released the University Research Commercialisation consultation paper on Feb 26 seeking feedback into these questions.

“I want to see new ideas on how we can increase collaboration between business and universities and put our research at the heart of our economic recovery,” Minister Tudge said.

“We want our high-quality research to better translate into the breakthrough products, new businesses and ideas we need to grow our economy and improve our society.

“COVID provides a unique opportunity to reassess university business models and better leverage research to grow our economy and generate Australian jobs.

“I will work with any university that is prepared to take a bold approach.”

It’s time to “level up”

Peak body Science & Technology Australia welcomed the initiative and said university science is ready to “level up”, calling for a $2.4 billion Science Future Fund.

“Australian science is ready, willing and able to answer that call,” said Science & Technology Australia Chief Executive Officer Misha Schubert.

ACDS joined the call for funding similar to the long-established Biomedical Research Translation Fund that fed $500m into medical research translation in 2015-2017.

“We strongly support the proposal for a non-medical research translation fund and a comprehensive long-term national plan for science and technology,” they stated in a press release.

“Such a scheme will enable the great work by University science in areas like environmental science, agriculture, chemistry and physics, to contribute to global challenges like food and water security, climate change, renewable energy and smart materials.”

Release the release here, or click here for a direct link to download the consultation paper.

Australian University Science issue 3 banner

Australian universities COVID-19 response – Issue 3

When the pandemic hit, the Australian Council of Deans of Science quickly mobilised to understand Australian universities COVID-19 response, covered in the latest issue of Australian University Science.

University science research is a deep repository of knowledge and is uniquely positioned to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, through research across multiple disciplines and targeting many different problem areas.

As Professor John Shine notes in the introduction to the issue, university science in Australia is developing strong candidates for a vaccine with the support of the Centre for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and from global biotech giant CSL, established in Australia in 1916.

But the response goes far beyond vaccine research, with a number of cutting edge molecular biology research and environmental science pivoting into the COVID-19 problem.

In addition, Australian universities COVID-19 response included university science departments utilising their unique facilities and knowledge.

They manufactured hundreds of thousands of masks and other personal protective equipment, began research into mental health effects, modelled the spread of the virus, looked at the effects on specific groups including minorities and regions, and worked with the government and schools to provide resources and expertise.

This virus is not finished, nor is the research. There will be rapidly changing approaches to testing regimes, new drugs and new vaccines. There will also be ongoing impacts, challenges and setbacks.

As this latest issue of Australian University Science goes to show, as the virus continues to change our world, university science research will be at the frontline in helping us to understand, adapt and respond to this crisis.

Heather Catchpole, Editor, Australian University Science & Head of Content, Refraction Media. @hcatchpole

About Australian University Science

Australian University Science is produced by STEM-specialist publisher, Refraction Media (publishers of ScienceMeetsBusiness.com.au), on behalf of the Australian Council of Deans of Science.

Australian University Science highlights the collaborative work of the science community in this third edition, and profiles the roles graduates play in industry.

To provide feedback or suggestions to the editors, subscribe to this publication or order additional copies, email info@refractionmedia.com.au.

Australian University Science Energy Futures

Australian University Science: university science, universal impact

Australian universities have a critical role in research innovation and technological change. A new publication reveals the impact of university science on innovation, entrepreneurship and employment in future energy technologies.The bi-annual publication is published by Refraction Media on behalf of the Australian Council of Deans of Science (ACDS).

The first issue, launching on 9 September 2019, focusses on the hydrogen economy. The first hydrogen fuel exports to Japan (through Queensland University of Technology’s Redlands Facility) left Australia in March this year. It’s just one of the ways that universities are delivering on this potential multi-billion dollar economy. Australia is also well positioned to become a net exporter of hydrogen, an opportunity expected to create 16,000 new Australian jobs by 2040.

“University science is a fundamental source of disruptive ideas, and a partner for their translation into innovation,” says Executive Director of the ACDS, Professor John Rice. “The emerging hydrogen economy and energy futures are a great example.”

“Australian University Science provides a critical insight into how university science informs, partners and drives innovation domestically and internationally,” says Professor Rice.

The publication highlights a multitude of collaborations with other research institutions and government, CRC partnerships, the CSIRO and private corporations. Some of the hydrogen technologies showcased include artificial photosynthesis (Australian National University), hydrogen-producing bacteria (Macquarie University) and crystal catalysts for solar-produced hydrogen (Curtin University). 

“University science now engages at every stage of the cycle in which knowledge is turned into new and better ways of doing things,” says Australia’s past Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb. 

“University scientists and students do more than explore, uncover and discover. They also use their knowledge to work closely with the people who produce the new technologies and practices that a changing world needs,” he says.

“Whenever there is a great new kind of technology, advances in clean energy, or smarter ways to diagnose and treat disease, you can be sure that university science lies somewhere behind it.”

The publication is free to order and download here.

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