The Academy supports the principle of a government-backed scheme for early-stage commercialisation of research, however, care needs to be taken in the scheme design to ensure that Australia is getting the most for that investment.
In a recent submission to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment consultation on developing a University Research Commercialisation (URC) scheme, the Academy called for the Australian Government to consider key learnings from the health and medical research sector when designing a scheme like this.
As highlighted in the consultation paper, Australia is renowned for world-class research, but there is room for improvement when it comes to translating those research findings. By providing support at an early stage of commercial development, a government-backed scheme could help researchers and young start-up companies traverse the “valley of death”, enabling more economic and social benefits of Australian research to be realised. It means that the Australian Government could play a key role in supporting commercial development of research outcomes, reducing risk and making it more attractive for private investors.
While supportive of the principle of developing this type of scheme, the Academy has put forward a number of key considerations to inform its design:
- The scheme should have sufficient flexibility and scale to address both immediate and future unmet needs.
- The scheme should complement the existing funding landscape that supports research and translation in Australia.
- The scheme should encourage and enable collaboration and partnerships.
- Design of the scheme should consider how to recognise commercialisation outputs and milestones as metrics of success for researchers.