The Turnbull Government has accepted all six recommendations made by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) to improve Australia’s research training system.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Greg Hunt said the review found improvements should be made to ensure Australia’s research training system remains internationally competitive.
“While Australia’s research training system performs well in training future academic researchers and supporting academic outputs, the review found aspects that could be improved,” Minister Birmingham said.
“It’s important for our students, our universities and our economy that Australia’s higher degree by research training models are amongst the best in the world.
“We need more flexible regulatory and funding arrangements and more researchers collaborating with industry during their training.”
Minister Hunt said the 10-month review assessed the system’s capacity for learned inquiry, innovation and productivity. It also canvassed ways research graduates could work with industry to bring their ideas to market.
“We have already changed the research block grants to give universities more autonomy around their higher degree by research student scholarships,” Mr Hunt said.
“Universities now have incentives to partner with industry to commercialise research and there is more weighting for completions, including Indigenous student completions.”
Minister Birmingham said the Turnbull Government had already responded to a number of the review’s recommendations through recent policy commitments and initiatives.
“In particular, the Turnbull Government has committed $28.2 million to expand the PhD internships program run by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute to a national scale program,” Minister Birmingham said.
The review’s findings and recommendations align with the objectives work being done through the National Innovation and Science Agenda and the recommendations of the Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements.
A working group, including representatives from the university sector, industry and community stakeholders, is being established to implement the review’s findings.