Opportunities to increase business expenditure on R&D (BERD) is on the agenda at the AusBiotech CEO Policy Forum today in Canberra. It is expected that Hon. Karen Andrews MP and representatives from across relevant departments of government will join the Forum to engage on life sciences issues, with practical thought-out initiatives for increasing BERD to be presented.
The day has been designed to bring the life science sector’s economic and social contributions to Australia to the forefront, and facilitate increased communication and collaboration between industry and government. The AusBiotech CEO Policy Forum brought 25 CEOs/Country Heads from member organisations together to continue collaborating on the BERD policy position, where opportunities and barriers to achieve the best growth for Australia is identified.
The policy position outlines five overarching key principles to help guide policy decision-making and achieve an environment conducive to increasing BERD; the first being a stable policy environment.
The stability of the R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI) has been identified as the most important tool to do this. The RDTI programme’s proposed changes are still uncertain, and the impacts from this prolonged uncertainty is being felt across the sector. The sector continues to be united in its voice, emphasising that government’s commitment to support businesses investing in R&D - the key to boosting BERD - is the most important opportunity available.
The other four principles are: funding is available at the right age and stage of the company life cycle; Australia can compete internationally, regulatory requirements and other processes are streamlined and optimised, and new technologies can easily progress from research to commercialisation. Each principle is supported with practical actions on how to achieve an increase in BERD.
Australia’s annual BERD has declined by more than $2 billion (12%) per annum between 2014 and 2016 (the latest period for which data is available). It is now at levels not seen since the global financial crisis.
BERD is critical to health and medical research, and all Australians – from bench, to business, to bedside – will benefit when this declining trajectory is reversed. Supporting BERD supports the country’s overall GDP.
Facilitating an environment that encourages businesses to invest in additional R&D and supports the retention and growth of Australian innovation will ultimately help industry to discover new life-enhancing technologies and improve existing ones.
AusBiotech’s CEO Policy Forum is a key event in interacting with policy makers. AusBiotech continues to work together with the wider ecosystem to ensure that the life sciences industry has the right environment to realise its economic and social potential.