Report Detail Page
Intellectual Capital Audit for the Red Meat Industry
The long-term future of the Australian red meat industry is dependent on its ability to meet a wide range of future challenges both internal and external. Capacity to meet these challenges incJudes the availability of a, significant intellectual capital (IC) base to provide the needs for market development and protection, R&D and technological adoption.
A significant erosion of public infrastructure over the past decade has led to either loss or reduction of many services with loss of staff with specific skills. Linked with these changes has been a decline in training activities in many relevant disciplines in universities, further reducing the IC base and the training capacity needed for the future.
The review found that there were significant concerns across many sectors in terms of capacity to supply future le needs of the industry. Staffing losses have not been filled in many disciplines, which together with a considerable decline in the pool of postgraduate students, is likely to lead to future problems of matching supply with demand.
Problems identified were primarily in the animal health, animal production and plant science areas. For commerce/business and information technology, existing training capacity was judged to be sufficient to meet most needs to 2020.
It is estimated that about 580-600 additional postgraduates will be needed over the next 18 years if IC needs to 2020 are to be met, given normal attrition expected over that time. This will require an annual intake of. between 25-35 commencing students across all disciplines, a proportion of whom would be supported by university funding and from other sources.
While it is not expected that MLA would assume major responsibility for all relevant postgraduate training, current training investments do need to be reviewed in the light of perceived demand shortfalls. A recommendation is that MLA should increase the number of commencing postgraduate studentships offered each year to a minimum of 12.
Mechanisms of collaboration with other scholarship providers need to be explored to see how leverage of funds could be best developed. Provision of additional top-up funding for other scholarships by MLA will maximise total numbers of stipends available to meet red meat industry demands.
Alternative models for supporting postgraduate education should be examined, one being joint venture arrangements between private and public sector agencies and universities in disciplines where this approach is feasible. MLA should be a facilitator of discussions on these alternative approaches.
Possible future strategic investments by MLA for strengthening university research training capacity must be targeted if maximum benefits are to be achieved. However before MLA makes decisions as to how or whether it can contribute to strengthening specific areas related to future industry demands, outcomes of current Commonwealth reviews of the tertiary sector, aimed at identifying institutional strengths, need to be evaluated.
In summary, a considered view is that in some disciplinary areas, supply will not meet demand for future IC capacity by 2020. These shortfalls will constrain some areas of industry activity and development. MLA can contribute in a number of ways to enhancing supply thereby minimising potential demand problems.
This page was last updated on 10/11/2014
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