The Australian Technology Network of universities (ATN) has welcomed Federal Labor’s plan, announced last week, to reform the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive.
ATN Chair, Professor Attila Brungs said Australia was facing a major challenge to our global competitiveness, having fallen behind in OECD rankings for research investment, leaving the nation exposed in an era of rapid technological change.
“Digital technologies are advancing quickly. With the pace of automation, we need business to be in lock-step with the research community.
“This is essential to help prepare the workforce for the jobs of the future and take advantage of the great opportunities provided by technological progress,” Professor Brungs said.
Last year, the ATN commissioned PWC to provide a road map of what is required to equip Australians for the future of work.
“It will come as no surprise that one of the key recommendations was to continue to increase broad-based industry-university collaboration by building successful models and helping to remove both real and perceived barriers,” Professor Brungs said.
Professor Brungs said recommendations included ensuring legislative frameworks to allow for a broader range of learning and research placements in industry, introducing tax incentives to encourage business to engage with universities, and removing barriers and promoting student participation in Work Integrated Learning.
“Labor’s announcement that it will change the objectives of the R&D tax incentive to make collaboration by Australian businesses with research institutions an explicit target, is highly welcomed,” Brungs said.
“We particularly welcome the focus around removing the barriers for industry to embed PhD researchers.
“We know from our day-to-day experience that so many of our brightest young minds have incredible insights and are able to apply practical solutions to the issues facing industry.”
Brungs said that, particularly for small to medium sized businesses, PHD researchers can really help a business drive productivity and technology improvements inside the workplace, helping boost industry’s bottom line and creating jobs.
“It is important that we use all levers at our disposal to help drive greater national prosperity and promote new jobs and better support for the workforce of the future,” he said.