<b>The Hon. Paul Henderson MLA</b>

NT Chief Minister's Foreword

The Northern Territory Government recognises the importance of innovation in the Territory and fosters a range of research and innovation initiatives.

When it comes to developing innovative solutions to problems faced by local businesses and undertaking ground breaking research in tropical and desert environments, the Territory continues to out-perform.

In acknowledging the clear link between innovation and productivity, the Territory Government is increasing engagement between the Territory’s research sectors and local businesses.

The Northern Territory Research and Innovation Awards is an annual event that recognises and rewards Territorians, who through their dedication to creating innovative ideas and finding innovative solutions to problems, have helped the Territory prosper economically, socially and environmentally.

The Bushlight Program, which started out as a renewable energy project in Central Australia, is now being rolled out across India to provide people with affordable, green electricity. It is innovative projects like this that the Territory Government recognises each year at the Northern Territory Research and Innovation Awards.

In 2004, the Territory Government appointed an independent board of experts to manage the Northern Territory Research and Innovation Fund and to advise the government on matters related to research and innovation in the Northern Territory.

The board comprises nine eminent researchers and business community representatives, chaired by Dr Bruce Walker. Meeting four times a year, the board members assess applications and make recommendations on the allocation of grants and awards under the fund. They also monitor a range of research and innovation issues of interest to the Northern Territory’s economic, social, cultural and environmental development.

The government also fosters innovation by supporting a range of education and research centres, such as the Northern Institute, the Menzies School of Health Research, the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Education, Desert Knowledge Australia, and the North Australia Centre for Oil and Gas.

These initiatives form part of the Territory Government’s commitment to developing a focus on research and innovation, as outlined in the Territory 2030 Strategic Plan – the Territory’s road map for the future.

Benefits from research and innovation have come in the forms of new economic and employment opportunities, better environmental stewardship, more informed public policy, and improved methods of doing things.

This year’s Australian Innovation Festival provides an ideal opportunity for business, research institutes, education institutes and individuals to come together, share ideas, network and learn from each other’s experiences.

I wish the festival and all its participants every success this year.