Increased R&D spending to boost economy by $100 billion

Australia’s economy would receive a $100 billion boost if investment in research and development was increased to three per cent of GDP, the nation’s peak science body says.

For more than a decade, Australian funding for research and development has declined as a percentage of GDP and the nation now spends less than two cents in every dollar on the sector, Science & Technology Australia president Sharath Sriram says.

The US spends twice as much while Korea’s investment triples Australia’s commitment.

Without adequate investment, the nation’s economy would lag behind other countries, said Sriram, who will give a speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday to tout the benefits of increasing research and development spending.

“Creating this ecosystem is crucial,” he said before his speech.

“Unless we become a smarter country, we’re doomed to become a poorer one.”

The economy would be $100 billion and 42,000 jobs better off if the government boosts funding to three per cent of GDP.

Professor Sriram’s work has helped create more than $9 million in partnerships for his university and spurred innovations for aged-care support and biosensors that help monitor respiratory illnesses.

More investment would allow universities and research institutes to generate ideas that could be adopted an transformed into products and services, which could then provide value for society, Prof Sriram said.

“If we fail to diversify, if we don’t become an innovation-driven economy then we will be a nation of consumers rather than creators,” he said.

“We will end up paying an ever-increasing rent to the rest of the world.”


Kat Wong
(Australian Associated Press)


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