RUN applauds ALP’s regional innovation fund

04 Dec 2015

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The Regional Universities Network (RUN) resoundingly endorses Labor’s plan to grow regional innovation, announced today by the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Bill Shorten MP.
The proposed Regional Innovation Fund, totalling $16 million, will include expanding the national network of incubators and accelerators across the country, focussing on regional sites, and will ensure investment reinforces local economic strengths and priorities or helps diversify economic activity. Up to 20 new accelerators will be funded over three years and must include a university or TAFE.
The Chair of RUN, Professor Jan Thomas, said that the proposal recognised the importance of having a regional innovation strategy.
“Innovation must be boosted in regional Australia - a third of the nation cannot be left behind in the new, world economy,” Professor Thomas said.
“The ALP policy recognises the need for a comprehensive approach to regional innovation. While university-based accelerators will be at the centre of this initiative, other avenues will also potentially be available.
“In addition, the proposal for a new, independent agency called Innovate Australia charged with accelerating economic growth and delivering relevant initiatives would facilitate coherent policy and programs in innovation across the nation.
“The Committee for Economic Development of Australia has estimated that 5 million jobs will be lost in Australia over the next 10-15 years as we move towards automation. Regional and remote Australia will be the worst affected part of the country, due to the relatively high proportion of low skilled jobs.
“Regional innovation is essential to generate more highly skilled jobs in the regions. RUN universities have a fundamental role to play in growing research collaboration with industry for innovative commercial outcomes, and training the highly skilled professionals who will work in regional Australia in the jobs of the future.
“It is vital that regional needs are recognised in a comprehensive manner in innovation incentives and policy,” Professor Thomas said.
“We urge a bipartisan approach to regional innovation, and look forward to the Government’s Innovation Statement.”
Contact: Dr Caroline Perkins
Executive Director, Regional Universities Network, 0408 482 736
Find out more about the Regional Universities Network at Follow us on: Twitter: @RegUniNet Facebook:
Issued by: Diana Streak, RUN Media Adviser, 0422 536 064
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