The Australian Academy of science is calling on the government for greater financial support for research and development in its pre-budget submission to the Treasury, published on 6 February.
The academy wants to see a rise in Australian R&D expenditure from 2.2 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent, at a rate of increase of 0.2 percentage points per year.
“In a Federal Budget of some AU$375 billion dollars, in a country universally envied for its escape from the international financial crises of the past decade, an expenditure of less than AU$9bn on R&D does not come close to meeting the long-term needs of Australia,” says a statement from the academy.
It also calls for a review of ARC and NHMRC career fellowship schemes with a view to increasing and redistributing the number of fellowships available at different career stages.
The academy is pushing for an integrated international science programme with an investment of AU$250 million over ten years, as a way of improving international links.
It also wants to see a long-term major research infrastructure strategy with investment of AU$200m a year, as well as a reversal of the AU$499m reduction in spending under the Sustainable Research Excellence scheme, which funds the cost of research.
The Expenditure Review Committee is expected to meet in March to consider submissions and the final 2013 budget is due in May.