CSIRO/business programs face funding risk

A proposal to dramatically cut funding to a key program to foster linkages between the CSIRO and business will reportedly be considered by the Rudd Government’s budget razor-gang.

Under the plan, $2.8 billion would be taken from the CSIRO budget over the next four years by cutting the $414 million CSIRO Flagship program, The Australian reports today.

The Flagship scheme drives collaboration in research programs between the CSIRO and business and was part of an emphasis on commercialisation pushed by the Howard government.

If the scheme were cut, it would reportedly result in a 25% cut to CSIRO’s research because of a fall in business investment in projects, causing the loss of 1500 frontline scientists between 2008 and 2010.

The proposal, reportedly prepared by public servants tasked with finding budget cuts, is one of many that will be considered by the Rudd Government’s expenditure review committee in the lead up to this year’s budget on 13 May.

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