The 2020-2021 Federal Budget is banking on R&D and STEM skills to speed Australia’s recovery post-pandemic, with billions of dollars in funding to research institutions, organisations and initiatives; incentives for entrepreneurial women; significant investment in those seeking to enter or upskill in STEM professions and more.
Budget boosts for research, development and STEM
R&D-focused and STEM-friendly Budget measures include:
- $1 billion to university-led research over the 2020-21 financial year via the Research Support Program;
- $459.2 million over four years to Australia’s national science organisation, CSIRO, to compensate for the dip in commercial revenue it experienced due to COVID-19 disruptions;
- an abandonment of proposed cuts to the Research and development tax incentive, meaning that an additional $2 billion over the next four years will flow into the national R&D system;
- a $41 million R&D program to support regionally based industries;
- a reaffirmation of the federal government’s 12-year funding pledge to implement the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Strategy Roadmap;
- $47m more than previously estimated in funding for Cooperative Research Centres; and
- $5.8m over the coming year for a Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) scoping study of options to speed the path from research to translation and commercialisation.
Funding injection for STEM education and female-founded start-ups
Significant allocations were also made in the 2020 Budget for those seeking careers in the STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – professions, and for women entrepreneurs. These included:
- $35.9m over five years for the Boosting Female Founders initiative, supporting start-ups founded by women;
- $25.1m over five years from 2020-2021 FY to upskill women in STEM, via the creation of a Women in STEM Industry Cadetship program; and
- $27m to fund curriculum resources and STEM education for primary and high-school students, funding the next generation of science-technology-engineering-and-maths-based professionals.
Read ‘Research revival a step towards STEM-smart recovery’ (National Tribune)
View the 2020-2021 Federal Budget.