ATN Universities | 8 September 2013
The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) says it looks forward to working with an incoming Abbott Government to ensure universities are central to the ‘open for business’ agenda of the Coalition Government.
ATN Executive Director, Vicki Thomson, said with the Prime Minister-elect declaring Australia is now open for business –it is important to recognise that Universities are an integral part of the business of the nation.
“Real solutions for Australia can only be effective with real and immediate action to support the future of Australia’s universities and the crucial role they play in boosting national productivity through building a skilled professional workforce and through developing research leading to innovation in critical areas including health and ageing, manufacturing and agriculture.
“Australia stands or falls on the back of policy supporting the world class teaching, learning and research that builds our industry, assists our community and propels us to achieve our potential as a nation and we will be seeking an indication from the Coalition Government that they not only support this view but have the policies to back it in.
“The Coalition’s New Colombo Plan clearly places universities at the heart of the Coalition’s foreign policy in a move that is supported by the ATN.
“This policy recognises that universities are not just places of teaching, but they can play a role in soft diplomacy by deepening out engagement with our neighbours in Asia. This should be the start of greater recognition that Universities are an important part of real solutions for Australia.
“In terms of priority actions, the ATN will immediately be seeking a formal acknowledgement by the Government of the national importance of impact arising from university research. This is not simply an academic imperative but is also a way to ensure that the return on the taxpayer’s investment is obvious and optimal.
“At the end of the day the primary focus of university research must always be fundamental, curiosity driven research characterised by its excellence. Research impact policy should seek a better balance of this primary focus with the role of universities in contributing to Australian society and in particular the Australian innovation system.
“It must never be either/ or and it must never be reduced to a banal discussion based on academic titles of research.”