RESEARCH AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Research and development activities are at the heart of our social, cultural and economic development, and provide the necessary base for progress and innovation in all forms of knowledge. It also underpins the important role of critical and expert commentary both in scholarly and public debate. The capacity of public institutions to undertake research is founded upon the preservation of academic freedom, including the rights of staff to determine the direction of research, to participate in decision-making structures and processes within the institution and the role of institutions in protecting academic integrity above the private or corporate interests of third parties.
The adoption of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) in 2015 and the implementation of Watt Review’s recommendations in relation to the distribution of research block grant funding will place far greater emphasis on collaboration between universities and business sector as well as the commercialisation of research activity.
For research staff these policies can mean the erosion of research as a “public good”, loss of individual control over research direction and results (including intellectual property rights) and increased competition with colleagues.
NTEU will continue to monitor the value, integrity and accountability of government programs that attempt to shape and modify the relationship between public funding and industry focused research.