A Study of Government R&D Expenditure by Sector and Technology

A study of government R&D expenditure by sector and technology was prepared for the department, by Mark Matthews and John Howard of Howard Partners, as part of a series of occasional papers on issues relating to emerging industries and technologies. The report examines how R&D and innovation support is deployed across industries; research fields and technologies; and socio-economic objectives. It also examines the implications for emerging areas of economic activity. The analysis is based on Commonwealth support for research and development in the 1996-7 income year. The report was released in February 2000.

The study highlighted how the programs available in 1996-7 to deliver Commonwealth support for R&D, tended to disperse R&D support in small amounts across a wide range of socio-economic objectives and fields of research. The study concluded: that from a policy perspective, the allocation of the Commonwealth's R&D support might be too thinly spread to achieve sufficient economies of scale to commercialise research. However the R&D Tax concession stood out in that it facilitated large scale experimental development and helped counteract the dispersion of R&D investment.

The study also found that the emerging industries analysed tended to exhibit greater private sector R&D investment than Commonwealth R&D investment and that the R&D Tax Concession could be expected to become increasingly important in facilitating R&D in emerging industries.

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