Research creates value

Clever collaborations between Australia’s universities and businesses return almost $4.50 on average to companies for each dollar they invest. And the total direct benefit to businesses was $12.8 billion in 2018-19 according to modelling for Universities Australia by Ernst & Young

Launched at the National Press Club on 26 February, the modelling finds the number of businesses collaborating rose from 16,000 firms in 2016-17 to 16,867 in 2018-19 – or a five percent jump in two years.

Universities Australia Chair Professor Deborah Terry AO said the new figures made a strong “business case to business” that partnering with universities delivers impressive returns.

“These collaborations aren’t about charity or philanthropy – there’s a clear-eyed business case and a demonstrated return on investment to firms that partner with universities,” she said.

“Our universities are brimming with brilliant researchers, scientists, and experts who lead their fields and have a keen eye on global industry trends. Universities are reaching out to business once again today to say: we’re here to help,” she said.

Key findings

Key findings in the new modelling include:

  • The direct benefit to business of university/business collaboration in 2018-19 was $12.8 billion;
  • Every dollar invested by business in university/business collaboration returns $4.47 on average;
  • The benefit of this collaboration to the Australian economy in 2018-19 was $26.5 billion;
  • These collaborations help support 38,500 fulltime jobs.

Featuring in a new video campaign, Yeppoon mango farmer Ian Groves, Mangoes Australia CEO Robert Gray and CQUniversity researcher Professor Kerry Walsh discuss their collaboration to develop hand-held infrared technology that can scan each mango on the tree. The device counts mangoes, assesses ripeness, and predicts the perfect time for picking.

And that saves costs – because farmers know when to order boxes and how many, when to hire workers to pick, and can get more fruit to market in top condition.

Australian Mangoes CEO Robert Gray said: “If I was to talk to another CEO about how they could achieve the same outcomes by tapping into a university, I’d strongly encourage them to look at it. It’s a great way of bringing new technologies into your industry in a cost-effective way.”

Feature image by David Vagg. Post shared from Universities Australia. To start a conversation with a university about collaboration, visit: