Presentation on theme: "European perspectives on the expected returns from investment in university research [incomplete set of slides – 3 more to be added] Costs & Compacts Symposium."— Presentation transcript:
Overview of talk Stress the importance of Europe for Australian research and innovation Brief you on current developments in Brussels Clarify what the Framework Programme is and is not Highlight salient aspects of some specific national experiences: – UK – France – Finland – Netherlands Draw some conclusions for policy-making in Australia
Work-in-Progress: the EC’s Survey of Research Funding Indicators and Characteristics Follow-up to 2006 report ‘Delivering on the Modernisation Agenda for Universities’ – Europe needs autonomous, accountable, well managed and well performing universities that are financially sustainable Challenges for universities in Europe are to handle: – growth in project based funding – diversification of funding streams – move towards the full recovery of research costs – Foster better financial management – adapt to a more competitive strategy-based environment EC Expert Group established to examine the impact of external project-based funding on financial management in universities
New comprehensive questionnaire launched Research income sources Co-funding model for top 3 funding sources – Formula-based core funding – Competitive-based funding – If competitive 100% of all research costs 100% of direct costs only Direct costs plus overhead (at what %?) Funder conditions stipulated – Matched funding by university – Matched funding from elsewhere – Time sheets – Accountability of expenditure at level of research project – Activity reports Primary methods used for allocating core funding to universities – Formula based using past performance metrics – Formula based using current volume/activity metrics – Set lump sum amount – Set proportion of national core funding available – No core funding – Other Degree of autonomy where core funding received – Free to use with no reporting requirement – Free to use with explicit reporting requirement – Must be allocated to specific activities
Covers non-European nations (incl. Australia) Opportunity to drive forward via a major comparative policy analysis Some “heads up” results already made available to FEAST by the EC – but on a confidential basis at this stage Important to augment with work on evolving thinking on: – the nature and extent of the expected returns from investment in university research Findings will be extremely useful
New CREST working group: Mutual learning on approaches to improve excellence of research in universities CREST = Scientific & Technical Research Committee that advises the EC/EU New study a German suggestion in 2007 Review the scope, objectives and measures of national policies to improve research performance in universities – excellence, relevance & impact Review the effect of these policies on universities re – Governance, strategies, performance & good practices Another opportunity for Australia to conduct a policy dialogue with Europe
The EU’s Framework Programme (€54bn: 7 yrs) Expected returns on investment are innovation related Industry-academic partnerships on critical path Not simply an academic research funding programme (point not always understood in Australia) Benefits from university researcher participation arise in the relevance domain not just in the excellence domain Involves non-Europeans where national FP buy-in or niche capability on offer Long-term intent to create a less nationalistic global cooperative research and innovation system
UK: The evolution of HM Treasury thinking The HM Treasury move to become more engaged in research and innovation policy – Combined Economic and Finance Ministry profile generated strong incentives to get more engaged (productivity drivers plus spending accountability) – meshed with internal departmental spending advocacy structure: structural incentive to grasp policy issues Consequences: – Flaws in the ‘linear model’ became apparent – Over emphasis on IP/commercialisation avoided role of Universities UK/AURIL IP strategy report: driven by Treasury & Cabinet Office – Initial short-termism overcome – Arguably, too great an emphasis on corporatist thinking: not well aligned with robust entrepeneurship
Realised that universities can deliver against complete over- arching policy framework 1.Create new businesses 2.Improve the performance of existing businesses 3.Improve public policy and public services 4.Delivery highly qualified people to the labour market 5.Attract (overseas) R&D investment from business: “straight to GDP” Evolving priorities Take much longer term view Deal with backlog of under investment in research infrastructure Identify highest yielding areas Move beyond concern with formal R&D and into service-based innovation/creativity Define 10 year priorities UK: The evolution of HM Treasury thinking (cont)
Additional slides to be added Brief country profiles for – France – Finland – Netherlands Each highlighting a particular policy issue
Some conclusions Exploit the potential generated by microeconomic reform in the economy as a whole – engage with Central Economic Ministry priorities more effectively Foster creativity via greater support for cultures of entrepreneurial risk-taking – move to a more integrative ‘whole of education’ ethos (schools as a locus for nurturing creativity) – learning-by-doing from the creative economy policy narrative Locating university research capability in this human capital-based policy narrative Avoid mechanistic policy narratives: focus on agency not structure ?
Fairness to future generations – the very very long term view of what university research does Full costing of research is important, but…..... The capability to develop good effective strategies will be critical to making Compacts work - particularly in getting “bottom up” strategy definition (hence the link with entrepreneurial risk taking/creativity) In short: trend for the expected returns to move away from ‘mechanistic’ narrowly defined outcomes and toward a more general ‘enlightenment’ ethos with human capital centre stage Some conclusions (cont)
Next steps FEAST can facilitate a policy dialogue between Australia (via Go8) and the EC – Brussels keen to be briefed on this Costs & Compacts symposium – Use that meeting to agree a way forward (sharing data, ideas and experiences)?