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Your views: on research and funding

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on Productivity Commission enquiries into the return on investment with the state’s research sector.

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Commenting on the story: Poor returns on research sparks inquiries

Having worked in the health research sector for many years, I became concerned when SA’s share of grants and research funding began declining while, at the same time, the university administration and management component of grants received continued to increase. 

That is, we were earning less grant money as a proportion of the overall research funding pie, while allocating a greater proportion of this declining revenue to administration and not research.

Perhaps it is time to look again at consolidating our university sector so that our three small universities in SA do not compete with each other to their detriment. – Peter Harvey

A good portion of the issue is that organisations have to spend their money within financial years and therefore fund projects just to be able to get the money again next year.

Happens in all levels of government and their agencies and in their funding schemes.

Poor governance and a lack of openness and transparencies in the many different processes used to evaluate and award projects even within the one organisation leads to issues like the current sports rorts.

Funding is awarded for projects and as long as they spend the required funds then that is fine.

There is no, or very little attention paid to how effectively the money is spent and whether the projects even achieve what they were supposed to.

No system is used to followup and look at what it costs to implement the outcomes of the project and what are the actual benefits of doing the projects, be they economic, social and/or environmental.

Generally these benefits are not even set up in the first place so you would have no idea whether the project was successful at any more than achieving the budgeted expenditure, but then again isn’t that what they actually want to achieve and get their bonuses for? – Graeme Crook

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