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the economic impact of cooperative research centres in australia


A report for the CRC Association Inc by the Allen Consulting Group [1.4MB)

Key Findings from the Economic Impact Assessment of the CRC Programme [PPoint file 230KB]

  • The Australian - 12 Dec - research boosts economy by $1.1b
  • Daily Science Media Bulletin - 13 Dec - Shadow Education Minister Jenny Macklin says the Government must back Cooperaative Research Centres after a new study found that GDP is $0.60 higher for every dollar spent by the Government of CRCs
  • The Canberra Times - 14 Dec - Economic benefits from CRCs at least $1.1billion

CRC Association Media Release December 13, 2005


Scientific research in Australia’s Cooperative Research Centres is delivering a substantial payoff to the national economy, a new study has shown.

Australia is $1.1 billion better off, or $0.60 wealthier for every $1 invested by the Federal Government in CRC research, according to the first investigation ever to quantify the net benefits of a major national R&D program.

The study, by the Allen Consulting Group, looked only at research where the benefits had been delivered, were clearly attributable to CRC research, were validated by industry or other users and would not otherwise have occurred.

“Gross domestic product (GDP) is cumulatively $1,142 million higher than would have occurred had the money spent on the CRC programme instead gone to general government expenditure,” the report finds.

It concludes that real consumption in the economy was up by $763 million, real investment by $417 million and tax revenue by $66m compared to what would have been the case without CRC research.

The study highlighted case studies of science programs delivering measurable benefits to industry, for example:
• $8 million a year in net cost savings to coal miners who fitted the CRC Mining’s “dig and dump” dragline automation technology to their machines
• Annual cost savings of $20 million in gas pipeline laying through use of new welding technology developed by the CRC for Welded Structures
• A $99 million reduction in capital costs and annual savings of $20.6 million from advanced thickener technology in the mineral processing industry developed by the AJ Parker CRC for Hydrometallurgy
• A $26 million sale of new heart repair technology developed in the CRC for Cardiac Technology
• Licensing revenue of $2.2 million a year from new contact lens technology developed in the Vision CRC
• Sales of $16.6 million for new fire-proof electric cable technology developed by the CRC for Polymers
• A $6 million reduction in Commonwealth drug spending due to research on corticosteroids by the Asthma CRC
• $6 million in revenue generated from the commercialisation of beef vaccines and gene marker tests developed by the CRC for Cattle and Meat Quality.
• $2.7 million generated by spinoff companies selling environmental management service, via the CRC for Environmental Biotechnology.

The CRC programme was set up in 1990 to bring Australia’s best scientific minds from universities, industry and science agencies to bear on problems and opportunities of national importance. Since then a total of $9.6 billion has been committed by government, universities, industry, CSIRO and other partners.

The study is rigorous in that it looks only at research already completed and delivering measurable benefits, and according to the authors is highly conservative.

It also does not include benefits where it was difficult to attribute them fully to a CRC eg contribution made by the CRC for Tissue Growth & Repair to the company Gro-Pep or that from the Hearing CRC to Cochlear Ltd or the benefits to the nations’ $6 billion cattle sector from improvements in feed efficiency developed by the Beef CRC

The Chairman of the CRC Association, Mr Tony Staley, said the report was the first to provide substantive proof of the tremendous benefits which Australia reaps from its research activities - and particularly from cooperative research between different organisations in the public and private sectors.

“Measuring the benefits of science is extraordinarily hard, because they occur over long periods of time, affect large parts of the economy and society, and are, of course, part of the wider process of innovation and investment,” he says.

“However the Allen Consulting Group has provided Australia with solid evidence that science is a great economic investment, and that public and private funding in partnership delivers real benefits.

“The CRC model is uniquely Australian, and is much admired around the world. This study provides concrete evidence that we have done something rather special in this country, in the way we have structured the national research effort.”

More information:
• Mr Duncan Buckeridge, Allen Consulting 03 9654 3800
• Hon Tony Staley, Chairman CRCA, 0408 292 068
• Mr Mark Woffenden, Deputy Chair CRCA, CEO AJ Parker CRC for Integrated Hydrometallurgy Solutions 08 9360 2552
• Dr Anne Campbell, Executive Manager CRCA, 02 6270 6524
• Prof. Julian Cribb, CRCA media, 0418 639 245.

CRC Association Web site:
For hard copies please fax CRCA National Office 02 6273 1218


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