Research co-led by the University of Queensland has found that Australia is falling short of similar countries when it comes to funding basic research, specifically in the medical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical arenas.
The University of Queenland’s School of Chemical and Modular Biosciences’ Dr. Lisette Pregelj has evaluated the funding and innovation data from all over the world and has found out that Australia’s ability when it comes to developing innovative basic research is dipping.
Their ranking when it came to the Global Innovation Index has been consistently going down in the past five years. From 20th in 2018 to 22nd in 2019 and then further dropping to 23rd in 2020 and 25th in 2022, as per Dr. Pragelj.
The scientists have zeroed in on a lacuna in funding, especially when it comes to basic research, that is contributing to the innovation ranking decline.
It is well to be noted that in 1996, around 60% of Australia’s higher education funding for research and development went into the execution of basic research, however, that figure by 2019 had seen a 20% drop.
Apparently, this hasn’t been the case when it comes to countries like the USA and China, where there has been an elevated proportion of higher education R&D investment as far as basic research is concerned.
The co-lead of the study, Dr. Rosemary Harrison, who happens to be the University of Queensland’s alumni as well as a biotech executive, said that there is a primary requirement for Australia to refocus.
She added that they do welcome the announcement of the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund; however, the funding balance when it comes to basic and applied research will prove to be critical.