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AU Government launches new Agenda to foster innovation

By Catherine Knowles, Tue 8 Dec 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Australian Government has announced its intent to help support and develop local businesses with The National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Christoper Pyne, Industry, Innovation and Science Minister, says the Agenda will transform Australia’s economy and drive prosperity and competitiveness.

“Innovation and Science are two sides of the same coin, and this Agenda will bring them both together: driving jobs, growth and investment and igniting a national ‘can-do’ attitude,” Pyne says.

The Government will use various measures to support innovative businesses, grow private sector investment in research commercialisation, and increase the flow of venture capital to high potential start-ups.

Pyne says, “We’ll ensure our best ideas are realised by co-investing in the $200 million CSIRO Innovation Fund and $250 million Biomedical Translation Fund.

“These funds will support private investment in spin-offs and start-ups to develop and commercialise promising outcomes from Australia’s research,” he says.

“We’ll invest a $8 million in a network of incubators helping start-ups get the resources, knowledge and networks they need to take their ideas to the world.

“The Business, Research and Innovation Initiative has the potential to transform government procurement; with businesses coming up with ideas to solve some of our trickiest policy and procurement problems.

“Access to capital at the crucial early startup stage will be boosted through tax breaks that encourage private sector investment,” says Pyne.

According to Pyne, the Agenda will introduce new arrangements to encourage collaboration between researchers and industry, including streamlining and refocusing a greater proportion of research block grant funding toward collaboration, with an addition $127 million in funding.

“Improving funding incentives and fast-tracking collaborative research grants will encourage universities to partner with industry; and a new CRC round will open in February 2016.

“We will provide long-term funding certainty for the critical national research infrastructure needed for cutting-edge science and to retain our top scientific talent,” he says.

Over the next decade, the Government will provide $520 million for the Australian Synchrotron, $294 million for the Square Kilometre Array, while the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) will receive $1.5 billion.

Pyne says the Agenda’s $36 million Global Innovation Strategy would support businesses and researchers to collaborate with their global counterparts on research with landing pads established for Australian entrepreneurs and startups in Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley and three other key locations.

Pyne says the country’s future skills base will be shored up through a $99 million investment in programmes to boost digital literacy and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) amongst young Australians.

“The Agenda will also commit, $13 million to increasing opportunities for women in research, STEM industries, start-ups and entrepreneurial firms.

“Successful grassroots initiatives like National Science Week will also continue to involve communities around Australia in the wonder and excitement of scientific discovery,” he says.

Pyne says science and innovation would be at the heart of the Government’s policy settings with a new Innovation and Science committee of Cabinet, and the newly established Innovation and Science Australia acting as an independent advisory board.

“The release of the Agenda is just the beginning. The next step will be a national discussion around this new way of thinking and doing, and the importance of innovation and science to our future.

“We will highlight the successes to date and inspire all Australians to be involved in shaping our future and harnessing the potential of our ideas,” he says.

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