ARC & NHMRC Survey of Research Commercialisation, Year Ending December 2000
B. User Requirements, Survey Objectives, and Budget
Why do you need to conduct a survey? (B1)
The ARC’s advice to the Minister was published in July 2000 in a report entitled Research in the National Interest: Commercialising University Research in Australia. The report examined the structural and cultural barriers to the commercialisation of university research in Australia and, in order to address these, canvassed a range of commercialisation mechanisms and issues associated with these.
The report highlighted the fact that there are virtually no published data on the activities of commercialisation entities in Australia that would indicate their performance. The absence of Australian data stands in contrast to that provided through the annual Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Licensing Survey in North America, a survey of technology licensing and related performance for US and Canadian Academic and non-profit institutions and patent management firms. In light of the critically important role played by ‘commercial arms’ in technology transfer and the commercialisation of university research, the ARC believed there would be considerable value in commissioning work to establish international benchmarks based on data from the AUTM survey and against which Australian data could be compared.
The ARC subsequently agreed to commission AUTM to assist it to assess technology transfer and research commercialisation performance in Australian universities’ through a survey of relevant outputs from universities’ activities. For the first time, this will provide information on Australia’s performance in this area that can be benchmarked against comparable information for other countries, in this case the US and Canada.
This project also addresses the need for the ARC to play a role that was identified for it in the Government’s December 1999 policy statement on research and research training, Knowledge and Innovation. That role is to publish regular reports on the comparative performance of Australia with other research active countries, emerging developments within and across fields of research, and measures of the national return on investment in research.
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How will the survey outputs meet the needs specified in B1? (B2)
The sample size is fixed by the number of universities in Australia.
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What is the timetable for the survey? (B3)
Testing occurred in March 2001 when a draft prototype of the survey was completed by three universities and one medical research institute. The questionnaire is expected to be finalised no later than October 19, 2001, and data collection to commence in the following week. We anticipate that data collection will finish by 30 November, 2001. The information collected will then be analysed and benchmarked by the Association of University Technology Managers in North America, and presented to the ARC in March 2002. The ARC will then prepare a final report based on that data, which is expected to be completed in mid 2002.
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