More than a decade ago, the Australian Commonwealth Government introduced and funded a system of Cooperative Research Centres (CRC’s) to bring scientists from universities, CSIRO, other government institutions, industry and private sector organizations from throughout Australia together. These CRC’s were to work on specific research and development projects that would benefit from the critical mass of effort. In 2002 there were 65 CRC’s in diverse fields but by 2009 there were 49 listed on their dedicated web page, each with its specific R&D focus. For this paper, each of these CRC’s (and each of two university-based centres with a sustainability focus) was contacted to determine: its participants; its basic and applied research output; whether it is involved in biotechnology projects; whether clustering is used to enhance knowledge transfer through geographical proximity; and whether it is involved in regional and/or sustainable development. The response rate was 37% and the aggregated results are discussed. An additional questionnaire with open-ended questions was distributed to senior members of local industries, NGO’s, government officials, and a local university in Gippsland, Victoria to further investigate collaboration for regional and sustainable development on a local basis. This questionnaire served the additional purpose of testing two previously published models on knowledge flows between such organizations for basic and applied research in Australia. The responses to both of these questionnaires are collated in this paper to depict the drivers and level of innovation in Australia as a whole and one regional area as an example.
|Keywords:||Australian Cooperative Research Centres, Sustainable Development, Regional Development, Biotechnology|
Lecturer, School of Applied Sciences and Engineering, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria, Australia
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