Science and Research Priorities

The Government has developed a set of Science and Research Priorities, and corresponding Practical Research Challenges, designed to increase investment in areas of immediate and critical importance to Australia and its place in the world.

Australia depends on science and research to increase productivity, achieve sustainable economic growth, create jobs, and improve national well-being. Australian science also contributes to the global stock of knowledge across a broad range of areas.

Like other countries our capacity to support research is finite. With diverse investments in research across multiple agencies and many processes, we must ensure that we build our capacity to pursue research of particular importance to us as a nation.

Our Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda states that we will align Australia’s research priorities with our comparative advantages and our Boosting the commercial returns from research paper calls for national science and research priorities and corresponding practical challenges.

Led by the former Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb AC, the Priorities and associated Practical Challenges were developed in consultation with researchers, industry leaders and government representatives.

In its recent meeting, the Commonwealth Science Council considered the Priorities and recommended that they be adopted by the Government immediately.

The Science and Research Priorities and associated Practical Challenges will ensure that appropriate levels of public funding are allocated to research that addresses the most immediate problems facing the nation. They are neither exclusive; nor are they exhaustive.

The implementation of priorities is expected, over time, to result in an increased proportion of Australian Government research investment allocated on a strategic basis to areas of critical need and national importance. This does not mean that funding should be directed to applied, mission-based research to the exclusion of other forms of research. Even in the priority areas, a significant amount of the research will need to be early-stage, basic research.

Addressing the Priorities and Practical Research Challenges will require effort from across the full spectrum of research disciplines, including the physical and life sciences, engineering, information and communications technology and the humanities and social sciences. It will also require a coordinated approach from all Government departments and agencies.

Cross-cutting issues related to the priorities present challenges in their own right and will be addressed through a whole-of-government strategic approach. These include big data, research infrastructure, workforce and international collaboration.

The Science and Research Priorities and Practical Research Challenges will be reviewed every two years to allow for new initiatives to take effect and to ensure that issues being addressed are still the most pressing for the nation.

The Priorities

The Australian Government has developed a set of Science and Research Priorities, and corresponding Practical Research Challenges, designed to increase investment in areas of immediate and critical importance to Australia and its place in the world. View one of the fact sheets below.

Other information

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