Calls for science investment before summit

(Gilead Sciences via AP)

Australia’s economy could reap a $52 billion windfall through further investment in science and technology, according to a peak body.

Ahead of the government’s jobs and skills summit, scheduled to start on Thursday, Science and Technology Australia has called for further financial backing for scientists with commercial knowledge.

The peak body’s chief executive Misha Schubert said bridging the gap between science and commercialisation could supercharge the economy.

“Imagine the potential of an Australian economy powered by up to 2000 more entrepreneurial bench-to-boardroom scientists,” she said.

“If just five per cent, a very conservative figure, of a new generation of bench-to-boardroom scientists achieve the level of success we’ve seen from some of our nation’s brightest commercialisation stars, it would generate a $52 billion return for the Australian economy.”

The peak body has previously called for a fix to chronic job insecurity in the science sector to end the brain drain.

Ms Schubert said Australia had an opportunity to boost investment in science in order to keep up with developments in nearby nations.

“Right now, the world is in a fierce science and technology race to rapidly advance societies and economies,” Ms Schubert said.

“The stakes are high. If Australia doesn’t keep pace, we face the grave risk that the country will end up as a consumer, not a creator – eroding our sovereign capability and deepening our reliance on other countries.”

The summit will see more than 100 people take part in talks on how to solve skills shortages and create more secure work for employees.

The talks will bring together representatives from unions, businesses, civil society and government.


- Advertisement -