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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a swamp that needs to be drained « Previous | |Next »
November 4, 2003

An editorial in last Thursday's Australian Financial Review (subscription required, 30 10 03, p.78) gives an insight into how the market views the universities. On one level there is no suprise. It it is all about commerce and getting a return on monies spent on research.

From the perspective of economic reason the whole research system needs to be simplified. The maze of bureaucratic relationships in the research infrastructure creates inefficiences. It's a swamp that needs to be drained to ensure that the quality of the national research effort delivers a good commercial return on the public money spent on it.

More needs to be done because the direct return from the commercialisation of ARC-funded projects is just 3 per cent. Just 3% profit!

No wonder venture capital is not coming to the party. There is no incentive for dynamic entrepreneurs to provide the funds needed to turn successful research into commercial product.

It is clear what the Minister must do for the financial capital. Ministers Nelson and Gauran have to provide the right environment for more venture capital sucess.

And there is the suprise. Re-read the above. Is not the key to the whole proposed set of educational reforms---draining the swamp--to look after venture capital!The infererence role of government is to provide opportunites for entrepreneurs to make good bucks. That is the whole point of economic and cultural reform for neo-liberals.

The best way to do that is create a new two tiered university system between entrepreneurial, research-orientated universities and teaching institutions.

And what would the former look like? A story in last Monday's Australian Financial Review (subscription required, 3 13 03, p. 1) suggests that Monash is on the right track. They're breeding the new academics--home-grown millionare academics. One (a Dr. Frank Ng) who has shares in a start-up company based the successful commercialisation of his ARC funded research into biotech. (It's an obesity-control company called Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd).

Attaboy Frank. The country needs more like you. There is $4 billion worth of research in the pipeline. It needs $400 billion to bring it to the market.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:17 PM | | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (1)

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