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Priority is a strategic planning tool that utilises the evaluation framework developed by the US Industrial Research Institute and CSIRO Australia to set organisational research priorities.

Recognising that the setting of priorities is best undertaken in an interactive and team based environment, the package has been designed to facilitate rapid data entry in a workshop environment. A graphical user interface guides the facilitator through the evaluation process, where a series of questions relating to potential benefits , likely capture of benefits and organisational capability are provided. The package has been developed for the CSIRO Corporate Office.


Major features include


Graphical User Interface  

 A Graphical User Interface guides users through the evaluation package. Each component of the evaluation process is illustrated on the interface and the user can systemically step through the evaluation framework.


Help System  

 A Help System is contained with the application to provide the user with a functional and operational backup. The Help System is context sensitive and can be called whenever a problem is encountered throughout the evaluation process.  



 Results are provided in tabular and graphical formats. Using charts the evaluation results can be demonstrated in a way that assist interpretation.




Priority is designed to be used in a workshop environment. CSIRO (1991) outlined the rationale for group analysis:  


Building group consensus  

 The CSIRO priority setting approach is a method for achieving group consensus on priorities. After a number of trials, the procedure detailed as the most generally suitable. It uses aspects of both Delphi and Nominal Group techniques. It is important to keep in mind that the scores are a means of identifying and exploring differing judgements.


Key process factors are:

- Adequate preparation - so that participants understand what is going on and can use their group time on the important thing exploring the views underlying the scores, rather than wasting it on the mechanics;

- "champions" for each research purpose, who can lead the discussion and address issues as they arise;

- The full commitment of all participants (including a willingness to step outside of day-to-day concerns and take a fresh look at the total area under consideration).


The four criteria adopted by CSIRO for priority assessment; namely:

- Potential benefits of successful research;

- Capture of the benefits;

- R & D potential; and

- R & D capacity

are completely general and independent. However, many separate factors are embedded in each of them. It is important that all participants in-group exercises have the same understanding of the criteria.

Each research area is scored using the following four criteria:


Potential Benefits

 Potential benefits are the maximum economic, environmental and other social returns possible for Australia from technological improvement in the sub-division under consideration. The benefits include both first-order benefits (ie, benefits to the sub-division in question) and benefits potentially flowing on to other sectors and the nation as a whole.


Some key economic factors implicit in the assessment of potential benefits are:

- The importance of technological improvement to sub-division performance vis-a-vis other factors

- Size of market

- Contribution to increased productivity

- Projected market growth

- Exports, import replacement

- Benefits to Australia associated with use of research- based goods and services by other sectors of the economy.


Australia’s ability to capture the benefits  

 Australia’s ability to capture the benefits is a measure of the efficiency of technology transfer and adoption relative to an ideal, namely complete, capture of potential benefits by Australia. It reflects the ability of Australia’s companies and organisations to convert technical progress into commercial and other returns.


Relevant questions are:

- can Australian users compete internationally?

- is the technology socially and politically acceptable?

- can local industry/other users exploit the full potential of the technology in a timely way?

- is the application uniquely Australian?

- linkages with leading companies/enterprises

- adequacy of skills/investment base

- access to international and marketing networks

- risks of competitive leakage, if not can substantial benefit be retained?

- probability/risks of creating new enterprises

<- is acceptance/implementation of relevant "non-commercial" research by public sector bodies likely?


R & D Potential

 R & D Potential is a measure of the technical potential relevant areas of research.


Relevant questions are:

- how fertile are the relevant research fields?

- where is the current technology of the "S" curve?

- how close is current technology to the realisable potential?


R & D Capacity

 R & D Capacity is a measure of national research efficiency in realising the R & D potential and achieving technology goals in a timely way.


Relevant questions are:

- is Australia internationally competitive?

- should the research be done in Australia?

- is there a critical mass of effort?



  System requirements

  Personal computer with a 486 or higher processor
  Microsoft Windows 95
  Microsoft Excel 7.0
  8MB of memory for Windows 95 or 16MB for Windows NT
  5MB of available disk space
  1 3.5" high density disk drive
  VGA (SGVA 256 colour monitor)
  Mouse or compatible pointing device