Accounting for biotechnology

There is an article on today’s Age querying what we have got in return for all the money spent on biotech’s in Victoria. Apparently, there are lots of critics out there. I questioned the whole premise of looking for start-up profits:

Indeed, says Joshua Gans, professor of management at the Melbourne Business School, “government funding of innovation is not purely to make money”. In fact, he says, “if it was appropriately done, it would be targeting the research and development that would be difficult to make money on, so you would never expect to see it making a whole lot of money”.

Biotech funding “adds value to the economy, which is a broader thing … a lot broader than a few little start-ups.”

Although I would not go so far as to say biotechs as a group should receive subsidies no matter what. I would target those likely to generate spillovers into other areas of government policy.

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