| Research

IRU welcomes Government agenda for greater research commercialisation

Government plans to improve the commercialisation of research provide a welcome Government agenda for 2021, the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) group has said – but the Government must provide additional support to make it happen.

Speaking at The University of Melbourne today, Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge outlined his positive vision for a University Research Commercialisation Scheme “to better translate and commercialise university research outputs”.

The IRU, which represents seven Australian universities with a research focus on solving real-world problems, supports better structural incentives for businesses to work with universities to improve products and operations. IRU members support innovation hubs across Australia that help small to medium innovators to translate early business ideas into successful companies. More can be done to support this work through government, business and university collaborations.

The IRU will respond constructively to the Government’s consultation paper published today.

Commenting, IRU Executive Director Conor King said:

“It was exciting to hear the Minister’s positive plan for a major step change in how Australia supports translating our world leading research into action.

“Everybody wants to see more commercialisation of university research. The challenge is making sure the right incentives are in place to make it happen.

“Governments, businesses and universities all have a role to play. The renewed focus on commercialisation of research is welcome, but the Government needs to drive the work through additional support for universities.”

| Students

Benefits increase a welcome boost for students and universities

The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) group has welcomed confirmation that a $50 per fortnight increase in jobseeker benefits will also apply to students claiming Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy.

The Prime Minister announced a package of changes to unemployment benefits at a Parliament House press conference this afternoon, including a permanently increase of JobSeeker payments once the fortnightly $150 coronavirus supplement ends on 31 March 2021.

Speaking at the press conference, Minister for Families and Social Services Senator Anne Ruston said the uplift would also apply to eligible students.

The IRU, which represents seven comprehensive universities across Australia, has been urging the Government to ensure Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy students are included in any uplift, following media reports on Friday that JobSeeker payments were set to rise.

Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy provide vital support to university students who may not otherwise be able to afford to undertake full-time study. Providing adequate financial help to students also helps reduce drop-out rates, which has benefits for universities, taxpayers and wider society.

Commenting, IRU Executive Director Conor King said:

“Real increases to student income support are very rare. An increase is much more important to students’ capacity to study than raising or reducing HECS-HELP charges.

“The increase to Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy will not only benefit eligible students, it also benefits taxpayers by reducing the pressure to cease study due to the costs of living.”