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Australia’s Chief Scientist on getting our research priorities right

….Take the United States. 19 new cancer drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in the past two years. They exist today because of federally funded research begun in 1971 under the rubric of the “War on Cancer”.

Last year the US became the world’s largest oil producer. That is because of fracking – which was in turn made possible by research begun in the wake of the OPEC oil embargo forty years ago.

Two examples of mission-led research, both delivering on their goals, both based on a great deal of basic research and pursuing paths that proved even more fruitful than their proponents expected.

In for the long haul There is nothing revolutionary in the nine priorities for Australia. If I tell you that food, soil and water, transport, cyber-security, resources, energy, advanced manufacturing, environmental change and health and are important, you probably wouldn’t disagree.

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