Government’s science funds fall short again

THE Western Australian Government’s recent commitment of $50 million towards its InnovateWA policy will mainly go to boostig current programs, with new research projects having to compete for limited additional funding.

The Gallop Government launched its InnovateWA platform when it came into office, pledging $50 million over four years and last week’s announcement has granted a further $50 million over five years for InnovateWA2.

As the name would suggest the funding is to continue initiatives developed through the Premier’s Science Council-administered InnovateWA.

The initiatives it has adopted include promoting science education, funding Scitech Discovery Centre and attracting world-leading scientists to WA.

Premier’s Science Council chairman Professor Ian Constable said a number of these strategies would be extended, leaving little funding for new projects. 

Professor Constable said securing funding for new research through InnovateWA2 would be extremely competitive.

He said funding the State’s strong sectors such as farming, agriculture, and minerals was important in order to ward off potential threats.

“Mineral exploration has been decreasing dramatically. We need to put money into finding new novel ways to discover deposits otherwise in 10 year’s time we will run out of that royalty money,” he said.

However, pSivida managing director Gavin Rezos said maintaining a status quo was not good enough.

“The spending needs to be more focused and there needs to be more of it. All you have to do is look at the comparison of funding here and around the world. In WA we are behind the rest of Australia and Australia is starting to lag behind the rest of the world,” he said.




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