Australia punches above its weight on research excellence. But we can achieve a better return on our investments by improving research translation and commercialisation.
By turning our great ideas into products and services, we can solve real world problems and improve our standard of living. Research commercialisation can drive our economic success in the 21st century, creating new technologies, businesses and industries that generate well-paid jobs.
We cannot afford to be complacent. Our international peers are ramping up their efforts and Australia risks being left behind. The UK government has a target to roughly double its public R&D expenditure to £22 billion per year by 2025. The US government is aiming to boost funding for its National Science Foundation by US$100 billion over five years, with a focus on research translation.
For Australia to compete globally, a new research commercialisation scheme needs to:
- focus on our research strengths, industrial capabilities and market opportunities
- align effort at scale behind national priorities, challenges and objectives
- support experimentation through a stage-gated design that embraces risk and keeps administration costs low
- foster co-investment partnerships that leverage emerging innovation precincts
- complement a better coordinated science, research and innovation system, and integrate with broader initiatives like the Modern Manufacturing Strategy and a renewed focus on skills.