Smarter funding alternatives could save many Australian universities’ vital health and science research projects from collapse, leading wealth manager Atlas Advisors Australia says.
Executive Chairman Atlas Advisors Australia, Guy Hedley said the survival of university spinoff companies, thousands of jobs and critical research projects has been needlessly put at peril while millions of dollars in potential funding sits idle.
Mr Hedley said the Australian Government’s current review of the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) should be prioritised to provide rescue packages for university research commercialisation and other ailing sectors.
“The impact of a downturn in international students and a drop in corporate funded-research and philanthropy could be partly offset by restructuring the complying investment framework under the BIIP to provide greater funds for the commercialisation of university research,” Mr Hedley said.
Mr Hedley said Australia had to look at smarter and more sustainable ways of funding the research sector.
“We must remember the critical role universities play in creating new employment and startups which evolve from groundbreaking research in areas including health, science, technology, environment, mining and energy,” he said.
“The development of world-leading research and homegrown intellectual property supports a whole ecosystem of economic growth.
“The BIIP could provide a long-term and stable source of funding for universities commercialising their research in a post-COVID-19 world.”
University-focused venture capital fund Stoic Venture Capital has united with Atlas Advisors Australia to call for greater funding under the BIIP for commercialising university research positions and projects, as well as for ailing venture capital-backed startups.
“Industries as diversified as health, manufacturing and energy rely on university innovation to create new technology and skills that support growth,” Stoic Venture Capital Managing Partner – Investments Geoff Waring said.
“The impact of this crisis means there will be fewer jobs, less innovation and a decline in the number of people with education and skills that our economy needs to thrive in the future.”
Increasing support for universities’ research commercialisation and venture capital under the BIIP will give these organisations vital development funds.