Funding alternatives could save the health and science projects at Australian universities from collapse, according to Atlas Advisers Australia.
Guy Hedley, Atlas executive chair, said the Federal Government’s current review of the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) should be prioritised to provide rescue packages to university research commercialisation and other troubled 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,” Hedley said.
Hedley said Australia needed smarter and more sustainable ways to fund the research due to the critical role it played in creating new employment and ground-breaking research.
“The development of world-leading research and homegrown intellectual property supports a whole ecosystem of economic growth,” Hedley said.
“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 had joined Atlas’ call for greater funding under the BIIP for commercialising university research positions and projects, as well as for struggling venture capital-backed start-ups.
Geoff Waring, Stoic Venture Capital managing partner – investments, said industries as diversified as health, manufacturing and energy relied on university innovation to create new technology and skills that support growth.
“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,” Waring said.