Welcome to another edition of eChook.
Professor Mary O’Kane’s Review of the CRC Program, Collaborating to a purpose (PDF 1.1MB), released on 5 August, is now open for comments. It is a thorough and, by and large, a positive review. A few key questions are left unanswered. For example:
- There is no mention of the high transaction cost for setting up a CRC because there are no ‘blanket’ tax rulings and each CRC has to spend a huge amount of time, effort and money to obtain independent legal and taxation advice;
- The Review recommends that CRCs be in the “Pre-competitive and Pre-applicative” space. If CRCs are limited to the “pre-competitive and pre-applicative” phase of a research venture, how will it be possible to fully recognise the value added by a CRC in an economic sense?
- It recommends that the CRCs address “a significant challenge” facing industry, whereas CRCs today address a range of significant challenges. If there is only one challenge to deal with, then wouldn’t the existing ARC Linkage or Centres of Excellence Programs be more nimble and effective than CRCs?
The CRC Association is coordinating a collective response from all CRCs and I hope that many of the concerns will be addressed when the “white paper” is released towards the end of the year.
On a more practical note, the Review recommends a 2-stage bid process for the next CRC round, with the first stage being the full application and the second stage the interview. But it is still guesswork until the Guidelines for the next CRC round are released.
As far as the Poultry CRC is concerned, all our research and education activities are on track. For our re-bid, we have overwhelming support from industry, current partners and a number of new partners. We need to stay prepared in order to mount a good application within a short timeframe.