​Turnbull hands out AU$76m to drive industry and research partnerships

The Australian government is hoping to drive further 'collaboration' between universities and industry, handing over AU$76 million in funding, a further AU$16 million than previously promised.

The federal government has boosted its funding for Australia's research universities, handing over AU$76 million to encourage the partnering of researchers with industry.

"Australian researchers have no shortage of smart ideas. But Australia needs to become better at taking research and applying it in ways that benefit the broader community, or that turns our best research ideas into new job-creating commercial realities," Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said.

"We've worked with our research sector on the new funding arrangements, creating a simple, transparent framework that gives universities flexibility in how they support research and research training."

The funding includes AU$50 million announced over a year ago as part the government's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Similarly, the government announced that it would be handing out grants of up to AU$1 million to Australian businesses and individuals in August to be spent on research and development projects with global partners.

Forming part of the government's Global Innovation Linkages program, which will see AU$18 million over five years go towards "collaboration", the funding of up to AU$1 million per project over a maximum of four years is to be matched by Australian and global partners.

In a report released last year, Australia's former chief scientist professor Ian Chubb said entrepreneurship is a human endeavour, and is thus inseparable from education, not independent of it. He also said that universities should be at the core of building a culture of entrepreneurship in Australia.

"In popular culture, the entrepreneur is the rogue genius who succeeds without -- or in spite of -- education. And it would be extremely convenient if that were true," Chubb said. "If we cannot teach entrepreneurship, we can only recognise the born entrepreneurs, and get out of their way whilst they get on with the business of change."

The government also announced on Wednesday that it is seeking input from industry, science, and research communities on priority research themes for upcoming selection rounds of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program.

Those responding to the consultation have been asked to rank possible priority themes including clinical health care, remote and indigenous health, mental health, disaster response and preparedness, climate research, cybersecurity, and transport.

Going forward, the program will remain open to all industry, research, and community sectors, but in addition, applications in identified national interest priority themes may be prioritised for funding, the government said.

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