‘Trailblazer univesities’ to get cash injection in PM’s new pathway out of pandemic

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Four universities including at least one in regional Australia will benefit from a $243.5 million government plan to boost research which can be commercialised.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison used a speech to the Business Council of Australia’s annual meeting on Wednesday to outline the “trailblazer universities” plan.

“This new approach aims to incentivise so-called ‘trailblazer universities’ that are early adopters of intellectual property, industrial relations and skills practices to lift collaboration and commercialisation outcomes,” Mr Morrison told the online meeting.

Funding of up to $50 million over four years to June 2026 will be available to the selected universities to support research and development projects, staff, equipment, and opportunities to increase collaboration with industry.

“We need our universities to play a bigger role in our economy, working hand in glove with Australian businesses to develop the next generation of great Australian products and companies,” Mr Morrison said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

The universities will have a partnership with CSIRO and access CSIRO Test Lab equipment, enabling researchers to work with some of our best applied scientists to prototype and test new technologies at scale.

Mr Morrison told the chief executives of many of Australia’s largest companies in the online meeting there were “green shoots of confidence” in the economy.

“It’s time to move ahead – step-by-step, conditioned necessarily by the need to open safely and stay safely open,” he said of the pandemic recovery.

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The prime minister has announced a plan “to incentivise so-called ‘trailblazer universities’. Credit: AAP

He noted the Reserve Bank was forecasting the Australian economy would grow by 5.5 per cent next year, with unemployment forecast to fall to four per cent by June quarter 2023.

“Household and business balance sheets are healthy,” he said.

“Compared with the end of 2019, household cash savings have increased by $185 billion and business cash holdings have increased by $145 billion by the end of August 2021.”

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