Research in Australia and New Zealand


WHEN the prices of wheat and wool fell calamitously four years ago, Australia found herself on the verge of economic collapse, and every State department was compelled to tighten its belt in order to avert a general disaster. Among them, the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research discovered some economic truths for which it had not been consciously seeking, and it is now both suffering from, and benefiting by, its discoveries. It is an undoubted fact that under boom conditions, research is liable to become far more costly than it neeJ be; a successful investigation may well yield a continuous profit of 1,000 per cent or more on the original capital outlay, and rapidly lead to the initiation of a host of superfluous and hopeless projects. These are the first to be weeded out when contributions to research are curtailed. The Australian Research Council deserves sympathy for the enforced curtailment of its activities, but * Seventh Annual Report of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for the year ended 30th June, (Canberra: Commonwealth Government Printer, 1933.) 3*. 8d. congratulation for making immediate use of adversity by pressing forward existing schemes for inter-State co-ordination and imperial co-operation in agricultural research. Proposals for establishing a Commonwealth organisation in agricultural and pastoral research were put forward seven years ago, but in view of the wide divergence of interests between the different States and the great distances separating the chief research institutions, it is doubtful how far those proposals would have materialised in the absence of the pressure exerted by recent economic events. In making grateful acknowledgment of the assistance of the now defunct Empire Marketing Board, the Council emphasises the inestimable services performed by the Board in bringing research institutions in different parts of the Empire into close touch with one another.


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JACKS, G. Research in Australia and New Zealand. Nature 134, 51–53 (1934).

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