September 09, 2020 3 min read
Revelations that Australia’s top universities are likely to lose their best researchers in critical areas including in life sciences to overseas because of a funding crisis can be offset by restructuring the funding model for tertiary education.
Executive Chairman Atlas Advisors Australia, Guy Hedley said the Australian Government’s review of the Business Innovation and Investment Program should be given urgent priority to immediately unlock funds to maintain critical university research projects.
It follows revelations today that universities are likely to lose nearly 10,000 of their elite researchers in national priority areas to overseas decimating our nation’s high-level research capacity.
Mr Hedley said many research projects in health, science, engineering and technology were the green shoots of new companies that Australia desperately needs to grow its economy in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Hedley said the problem not only revealed Australia’s failure to adequately manage our tertiary institutions, but also our lack of international competitiveness when it comes to attracting high net worth migrant investors and making the best use of their investments into our economy.
“This funding disaster does not need to eventuate. Australia needs a smarter and more sustainable approach to funding our tertiary institutions,” Mr Hedley said.
“There are tens of millions of dollars ready and available from current BIIP applicants that could be immediately deployed to save important university research projects and provide incentives to prevent Australia’s top experts from leaving the country.”
Mr Hedley said the complying investment framework under the BIIP should be immediately reframed to provide greater funds for the commercialisation of university research.
University-focused venture capital fund Stoic Venture Capital has united with Atlas Advisors Australia to call for greater funding for high priority university projects under the BIIP and for the commercialisation of under-funded startups.
Stoic Venture Capital Partner Dr Geoff Waring said high net worth migrant investors could provide a stable and long-term source of funding for capital constrained startups which spin out from university research.
“These funds will go directly towards growing Australian companies which generate home-grown patents, taxes and, vitally, employment,” Dr Waring said.
“The development of world-leading research supports a whole ecosystem of economic growth. The support of the BIIP could enable these companies to tap into broader international contacts and knowledge lifting our competitiveness and giving us access to global markets.
Dr Waring said the commercialisation of more university research could also enable Australian universities to build significant endowments over time from their royalties and capital gains.
“This could assist in creating a more sustainable funding model that reduces the dependence of Australian universities on international student tuition fee income,” Dr Waring said.
About Atlas Advisors Australia
Atlas Advisors Australia is a leading funds manager and investment advisory business, operating between China and Australia offering a wide range of financial services and wealth management solutions. With operations in Sydney, Melbourne in Australia and Hong Kong SAR and Shanghai in China, we are able to support investors in all China and Australia locations.
About Stoic Venture Capital
Stoic Venture Capital provides financing for early-stage companies, particularly those arising from university research. We are unconditionally registered as an Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership (ESVCLP). We take a collaborative approach to investing in the highest potential companies.
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