Innovation in research to boost Australia's economy

Media Release
  • Minister for Education
  • Leader of the House

Translating our research success into an economic boost is the focus of a new discussion paper, Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research, released today by the Australian Government.

The Government will now consult on new initiatives to better capitalise on our research strengths, including possible changes to research funding to foster greater collaboration between universities and industry.

The strategy will link with the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, which is focussed on enhancing Australia’s productivity and international competitiveness.

Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP and Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP said the Government will consult with the research community and industry on creating better translation of research into commercial outcomes, including:

  • adjusting research funding to provide greater incentives for collaboration between research and industry
  • supporting world-class research infrastructure to attract the world's best researchers and facilitate collaboration with industry
  • promoting ‘intellectual property’ arrangements that facilitate collaboration and commercialisation of ideas
  • ensuring training prepares researchers to work with industry and bring their ideas to market
  • improving assessment of the research system and research outcomes and their impact.

“The Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda focusses on several targeted measures to ensure Australia can create new opportunities and new jobs in global markets,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“To maximise our economic opportunities in the years ahead Australian industry must capitalise on our areas of competitive strength and we must lift our game when it comes to collaboration between business and research.

“Australia is already performing well on research excellence – more than 3.5 per cent of the world’s top highly cited international research publications involve Australian researchers, up from just over 2 per cent in 2006.

“But when it comes to collaboration with business our performance falls away, with fewer than 5 per cent of Australian businesses turning to the research sector for new ideas or problem-solving.”

Minister Pyne said that the Government’s focus was to address the challenges Australia faces in turning good ideas and research breakthroughs into commercial results.

“The need for reform is clear with Australia ranking 81st out of 143 countries on the Global Innovation Index measuring how effectively we get returns from research, ideas and institutions,” Mr Pyne said.

“We rank last in the OECD on the proportion of businesses which collaborate with research institutions on innovation.

“A national strategy to create stronger links between research, science and industry is a central plank of the Government’s commitment to boost Australia’s economy, ensuring our competitiveness into the future.

“It also aligns with the Government’s higher education reforms, and the efforts to realise the potential of health research and help businesses to thrive.”

As part of the Competitiveness Agenda the Government is also establishing the Commonwealth Science Council as the pre-eminent body for advice on science and technology issues facing Australia

The Council will bring together leaders in Australian industry, research and government. One of its first actions will be to advise on national priorities for science and research.

The Government welcomes input from the research sector and industry on the discussion paper and invites submissions by 28 November 2014 at 5.00pm AEDT.

Further details on the initiative and how to make a submission are set out in a discussion paper available at www.education.gov.au/current-reviews-and-consultations.

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