CDU joins campaign to defend research funding


Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks

Charles Darwin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks

Charles Darwin University (CDU) has joined universities across the country in a new national campaign to tell the stories of everyday Australians whose lives have or will be transformed by Australian university research.

The campaign was launched ahead of university research funding cuts expected to be made in the Australian Government’s mid-year Budget update on Monday. The cuts were foreshadowed last month.

The new campaign – #UniResearchChangesLives – tells some of the millions of stories of Australians whose wellbeing hinges on university research breakthroughs, cures and advances.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said the campaign illustrated how university research saved or improved lives.

“Australian university research has delivered some huge advances in the last century – from IVF to a world-first cervical cancer vaccine, cochlear ear implants to parenting programs, and everything in between,” Professor Maddocks said.

“That includes medical research for cures and better treatments, programs to help kids catch up on lost years of literacy, safeguarding Australia’s unique Indigenous heritage, and better nursing care protocols that can save lives in hospitals.

“Research undertaken at CDU has led to major advances in areas such as Indigenous health and access to education, understanding climate change and renewable energy,” Professor Maddocks said.

The campaign begins as Government investment in research and development in Australia is projected to plunge next year to its lowest level as a share of the national economy in 40 years – setting alarm bells ringing.

The forecast fall, which is calculated from Government figures in Budget papers, would see Government investment in R&D fall to just half of one per cent of GDP in 2018-19. That is lower than in 1978.

Australia’s total investment on R&D by all sectors is only 1.88 per cent of GDP, well below the OECD average of 2.36 per cent.

“Australian universities are the backbone of our nation’s research efforts. Funding cuts will put at risk the next wave of cures, breakthroughs, treatments and advances to improve the lives of everyday Australians,” Professor Maddocks said.

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