The Performance Review of the Australian Innovation Science and Research System report that was presented by Innovation Science Australia in 2016, found Australian universities to have low levels of both domestic and international intersectoral research collaboration. Whilst the Australian Research Council is currently undergoing ways of tracking the impacts of Australian universities’ research through its Engagement and Impact Assessment scheduled for 2018, work is yet to be done on comprehensively mapping the entire Australian ISR system, particularly when it comes to intersectoral research.
This report presents a preliminary mapping of the key collaborations in the UK-Australian innovation, science and research (ISR) system, as well as a description of the perceived benefits, challenges and impacts of Australian universities to collaborating with universities and businesses in the UK.
The mapping showed that research collaborations between universities contain significantly more overlap in collaborations then compared to the collaborations with other sectors – where often research partnerships were unique. Furthermore, Australian universities see great benefit in collaborating with the UK and its global reputation for high quality research, and see international and intersectoral collaboration as a key part of the knowledge transfer process from academic to other sectors.
The findings also describe significant challenges faced by universities when engaging in international and intersectoral collaborations. Smaller universities reported difficulties in establishing connections with research institutions due to the high costs of communicating across the long distance and time-differences associated with the UK, as well as a lack of knowledge in how to formalise research agreements across the differences in legal systems between Australia and the UK.