Australians understand the importance of innovation. For example, Australia is a world leader in basic scientific research, particularly life sciences. We produce almost three per cent of the worldâs total research.
Nevertheless, as a nation we need to invest more in science, research and technology. Australia needs to promote greater and closer partnerships between university researchers and the private sector. We have seen some evidence of that in the past decade, but more remains to be done.
Closer partnerships between universities and the private sector will promote innovation and the commercialisation of ideas. They will also provide greater opportunities for Australian scientists to pursue rewarding career paths, and encourage scientists overseas to come to Australia and work.
Innovation also rests on the availability of capital. This can often be difficult for unproven ideas or for research and development. We already have a fearless investment culture when it comes to natural resources. The challenge is to foster that mindset in other areas too.
The government can quicken the pace of innovation. I am not a believer in âpicking winners,â but policy settings that provide general incentives, rather than tilting the field toward particular industries or activities, can be helpful.
Keeping innovation alive and vibrant requires businesses, as well as all levels of government, to build on Australiaâs strong fundamentals.