In April 2015 the Minister for Education and Training, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP issued the Draft National Strategy for International Education for consultation.
The Discussion Paper makes specific reference to Australian universities’ reputation for research excellence as a key factor in making Australia an attractive destination for overseas students. Research Australia’s response specifically addresses this aspect of the Discussion paper and the strategy.
International Education Strategy
Austrade has undertaken a two stage consultation on the eligible complying investments for individuals seeking a visa under the Investor Visa Programme. In the first round in late 2014, Research Australia advocated for donations to health and medical research to be included in the definition of complying investments. Austrade has included this proposal in the second round consultation for the new Premium Investment Visa, which requires a total investment of $15 million. Disappointingly, it has not supported the same inclusion for the existing Significant Investor Visa. In the two year period from the introduction of the Investor Visa Program to December 2014, nearly $3 billion in investments was made under the program and a further $3 billion was pending. Securing even a small proportion of this as donations to health and medical research could be a significant benefit to the heath and medical research sector.
Research Australia has argued in our second round submission for some refinements to the proposal and for its extension to Significant Investor Visas as well as Premium Investor visas.
Donations to H&MR for business VISAs
In 2014, the Government appointed an expert panel to consider ways to strengthen independent medical research institutes (iMRIs). Following an initial round of consultation, a discussion paper was issued, outlining the Review’s initial findings that iMRI’s could be more efficient, collaborative, diversify their revenue sources and more effectively translate their research. Research Australia has made a submission in response to the discussion paper, proposing specific measures that could be taken to achieve these outcomes and highlighting some barriers and constraints to achieving these objectives. Research Australia emphasised the need to take a ‘whole of sector approach to some of these measures, in particular improving translation.
Review to Strengthen Independent Medical Research Institutes
iMRI Review 2015 Attachment HRAF
In December 2014 the National Health and Medical Research Council undertook a targeted consultation on a draft of the ‘Principles for Publicly-Funded Data for Health Research’ (the Principles).
Research Australia is of the view that the Principles could do more to support the linking of data from different datasets and the submission addressed this matter. It also provided some comments on the specific wording of the Principles and proposes an addition to the Glossary.
Principles for Publicly-Funded Data for Health Research
The ACNC issued a draft of a document providing information about the category of charity known as a ‘Health Promotion Charity’ and how the ACNC interprets the law in relation to this category. Research Australia made a submission in relation to a number of aspects of the draft Interpretation Statement, focussing in particular on the ACNC’s interpretation of the word ‘disease’.
Health Promotion Charities
Research Australia has made a submission to the Treasurer in relation to the 2015-16 Budget. Research Australia’s submission urges the Government to implement the MRFF and to invest in health and medical research as a means of improving the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of Australia’s health system.
Pre Budget Submission 2015
Crowdfunding has been one of the most innovative developments of the last decade, and has allowed a range of projects to attract the financing they needed to succeed. Starting in the creative arts, the range of projects supported by crowdfunding has broadened in recent years. Perhaps one of the best examples of the potential of crowdfunding has been its use as a platform for the funding of university research projects, pioneered by Deakin University and Pozible in 2013.
With crowd funding in Australia currently restricted to providing non financial benefits, the Government has undertaken a consultation on the model of regulation required to allow crowdsourcing to be used by firms to raise equity. The consultation draws on a model developed by the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC).
Research Australia is broadly supportive of the model proposed by the Corporation and Markets Advisor Committee (CAMAC). The responses to the questions raised in the Discussion Paper outline some proposed refinements to that model and identify some key questions that should be addressed.
Crowd Sourced Equity Funding
Austrade has undertaken a consultation on the eligible complying investments for individuals seeking a visa under the Investor Visa Programme. Research Australia has proposed that donations to heath and medical research be included in the definition of complying investments.
Significant Investor Visa and Premium Investor Visa Programmes
In October the Commonwealth Minister for Health, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, announced that the Commonwealth Government was undertaking a review of independent Medical Research Institutes (iMRIs) within Australia to ensure that iMRIs can continue to make a strong contribution to the health and medical research sector in Australia.
Research Australia made a submission to the Review, noting the diverse nature of iMRIs and the different reasons why they have evolved their own independent identities. The submission also made a number of proposals in relation to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of MRIs and emphasised the primary responsibility of the governing bodies of MRis for ensuring efficiency and effectiveness.
Strengthening Independent Medical Research Institutes
The Ministers for Education and Industry jointly commissioned a review of measures that can be taken to boost the commercialisation of Australian publicly funded research.
Research Australia agrees that more can be done to support the commercialisation of Australian research, and our submission makes a number of proposals to increase the commercial returns from publicly funded research. While commercialisation of research is the clear focus of the discussion paper and our response, Research Australia recognises that commercialisation is not the sole purpose of publicly funded research, and that the focus must be on achieving the right balance between:
- basic and applied research;
- investigator led and strategic priority driven research; and
- commercialisation and other paths to translation.
Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research