A year since the Turnbull Government launched a landmark new plan to capitalise on the nation’s strengths and turn Australia into an innovation leader, major initiatives are underway to boost investment, generate jobs and improve the quality of our lives.
The $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda was launched in December 2015, and represented a significant turning point in the nation’s economic direction.
Over the past 12 months, elements of the agenda have taken shape and are helping to drive a more prosperous future.
The Turnbull Government is investing in culture and capital, to help businesses embrace risk and encourage investment in startups and early stage ventures.
We’ve made a number of changes to our tax laws to incentivise investment in promising Australian companies. We’re also having a direct impact by co-investing in significant innovations with real commercial potential.
The $200 million CSIRO Innovation Fund launched on the weekend will support the commercialisation of Australian research through co-investment in new spin-off and startup companies, products and services created by Australian research institutions.
The CSIRO Innovation Fund is complemented by the investment of $20 million to expand the CSIRO Accelerator Program to enable researchers from publicly funded research organisations and universities to more rapidly prepare their research for commercialisation.
The $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund will make a substantial difference to the biomedical sector by providing finance to Australian companies that are ready to turn their cutting edge research into world-leading products.
The $23 million Incubator Support Program was launched in September to grow the next generation of innovative and high performing Australian businesses.
Incubators help innovative startups to rapidly transform their ideas into globally competitive businesses by providing mentorship, funding, resources, knowledge and facilitating access to business networks.
We’re placing an emphasis on collaboration, to increase the level of engagement between businesses, universities and the research sector to commercialise ideas and solve problems.
We’ve invested $520 million to allow the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to operate the Australian Synchrotron, and we’ve allocated $294 million for Australia’s commitment to the Square Kilometre Array, the largest and most advanced radio telescope ever constructed.
There is a direct connection between industry and research collaboration and world-leading products. Recognising this, we will introduce new funding arrangements for universities from 1 January 2017 to improve the rate of collaboration with industry.
To help Australian companies compete on an international level, the government is investing $36 million over five years in a Global Innovation Strategy to improve Australia’s international innovation and science collaboration.
The strategy provides a whole-of-government framework for international engagement and collaboration on innovation, science and research.
The government is also investing directly in the development of world-leading research that could revolutionise computing and the way it affects our everyday lives.
In September, we announced a $25 million contribution to a consortium that is investing in the development of the world’s first quantum computer.
We’re focusing on talent and skills, to train Australian students for the jobs of the future and attract the world’s most innovative talent.
We’re investing $112 million to inspire all Australians, from pre-schoolers to women and the broader community, to engage with science, technology, engineering and maths.
And we, as a government, are leading by example in the way we invest in and use technology and data to deliver better services for all Australians.
We’ve established Innovation and Science Australia, a new statutory body tasked with providing independent advice on innovation, science and research to support government policy making.
We are making it easier for innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to deliver technology services to government – through the Digital Marketplace – and we will be more innovative in how we deliver services and share data with the public.
We also recognise the need to improve and innovate in the way the government delivers services and better leverage the expertise outside government in developing new solutions to public policy and service delivery challenges.
That’s why the Turnbull Government launched the Business Research and Innovation Initiative in August, calling for proposals to address five challenges.
The winners will receive grants of up to $100,000 to test their ideas for up to three months, with successful ideas potentially eligible for a grant of up to $1 million to develop a prototype or proof of concept over the next 18 months.
We have come a long way in a year and there is still more work ahead of us, but our National Innovation and Science Agenda is driving a new boom that will hold the nation in good stead in what is a rapidly changing global economy.