The Australian Government is planning to slash the budget for research and innovation by $8.6 billion, the most significant cuts since the introduction of a $7.5 billion research funding package in 2016.
The budget for science and technology research, which includes everything from computer science to medicine, is to be slashed by a further $2.8 billion in 2020-21, the Australian Institute of Technology said in a report.
The cuts are set to be delivered over a five-year period from 2020-22 to 2021-22.
Under the $7 billion funding package, Australia has spent more than $3.5 trillion on research and technology.
The government has pledged to invest more than one billion dollars on research over the next four years.
“Research and development expenditure is essential to ensuring the continued productivity of our economy and ensuring our nation’s competitiveness in the global market,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in his budget speech.
“Australia’s research and research spending has grown from $719 billion in 2000-01 to $717 billion in 2019-20.”
The budget announcement will deliver on that commitment to invest $4.2 billion to the science and innovation portfolio over the same period.
“The budget also sets out plans to invest another $1.8 trillion over the decade to ensure the economy’s future prosperity and the quality of life for Australians.”
The Government also announced it will invest $8,000 in the Indigenous Research and Development Fund, which aims to support Indigenous research and economic development projects.
“We are committed to support the growth and development of the Indigenous economy and the wellbeing of Indigenous Australians and will provide support to assist Indigenous communities,” Minister for Indigenous Affairs David Littleproud said.
“This will provide Indigenous people with access to high-quality science and research that will contribute to the wellbeing and prosperity of Indigenous communities.”