Government pledges $67m for research partnerships

The Federal Government has pledged $67 million for more than 200 research partnerships between universities and businesses, with projects ranging from needle-free vaccinations to protection from cyber bullying.


Innovation Minister Kim Carr announced the funding yesterday, which forms part of the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects scheme.


Linkage Projects is designed to support R&D projects, undertaken by higher education researchers, which involve risk or innovation.


Funding proposals must also involve a partner organisation from outside the higher education sector. The partner organisation must make a significant contribution in cash and/or in-kind to the project that is equal to, or greater than, the ARC funding.


Proposals for funding are processed twice a year, and the latest round will see 219 projects share in $67,393,349, with the average funding amount $307,732.


“The Linkage Projects scheme is a vital component of the ARC competitive grants because of the partnerships it encourages – with manufacturers and private enterprise here and overseas,” Senator Carr said in a statement.


The 31 Australian research institutions being awarded funding have partnered with 436 national and international organisations.


These organisations will top up the Government’s investment with an additional $139 million in cash and in-kind support, with the funding to commence in July.


Senator Carr highlighted the diversity of the projects, saying he was pleased to support Australia’s best and brightest researchers.


“For example, Monash University will use $360,399 to use the world-class research equipment available at Swedish and United States institutions to develop engineering and education solutions to reduce child injury and deaths in car crashes from the incorrect use of child restraints,” Carr said.


“[Meanwhile,] government investment of $300,000 will allow Swinburne University of Technology to collaborate with dairy industry innovator Gardiner Foundation on research into skimmed milk processing.”


Carr also made mention of the Government’s new R&D Tax Credit, which is currently awaiting debate in the Senate. The R&D Tax Credit has been proposed by the Government to replace the R&D Tax Concession.


The two core components of the program are:

  • A 45% refundable tax credit (the equivalent to a 150% concession) for eligible entities with aggregated turnover of less than $20 million per annum.
  • A non-refundable 40% tax credit (the equivalent of a 133%) deduction for other eligible entities.

Eligible entities claiming the R&D Tax Credit will still be expected to register their activities with Innovation Australia prior to claiming the R&D Tax Credit.


If approved, the R&D Tax Credit will replace the R&D Tax Concession from July 1, 2011.


Senator Carr said the R&D Tax Credit would further strengthen the links between researchers and industry, and encourage the creation of new and improved materials, products, processes and services.


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