The union representing employees at CSIRO has called on the Federal Government to invest the proceeds of multi-million dollar Wi-Fi licence agreements into the next generation of scientific and technological research.
The Secretary of the CSIRO Staff Association, Mr Sam Popovski, welcomed news of CSIRO’s $220 million agreement with three US companies that sell devices using the wireless technology.
“This latest agreement brings CSIRO’s Wi-Fi patent revenue to nearly $500 million – much needed funding that should be used to boost Australian science and research and employment at CSIRO,” Mr Popovski said.
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Breathing space for science funding?
Mr Popovski said that while revenue from the licencing agreements should create some breathing space for CSIRO’s finances, the Government needed to think longer term.
“The WLAN patent expires in 2013, around the time quadrennial funding for CSIRO is due for renewal. So this revenue buys some breathing space for CSIRO and the Government,” Mr Popovski said.
“But public sector funding for CSIRO lags behind CPI and has failed to grow in real terms since the 1980’s.
“The Federal Government needs to ensure there are adequate resources to develop the capacity that will allow the next generation of science innovation to flourish,” he said.
Science takes time to deliver
The WLAN case is a reminder that good science takes time, said Mr Popovski.
“The sale of smartphones and tablets has exploded over the past few years but the development of the wireless technology that underpins them is no overnight sensation,” Mr Popovski said.
The Australian research that led to the development of the WLAN technology started in the late 1970’s before being developed at CSIRO over the next twenty years.
“This is a story of committed Australian innovation over three decades in the making.”
“The lesson here is pretty clear – don’t short change science. Invest in research now and reap the rewards for Australia in the future,” Mr Popovski said.
For more information, additional comment or to arrange an interview with Mr Sam Popovski, contact email@example.com or call 0410 330 764