Australia’s Chief Scientist, professor Ian Chubb, has outlined five breakthrough actions governments could take to make Australia a more innovative nation.
They include the establishment of an Australian Innovation Council and helping businesses access publicly-funded research.
The Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council agreed that the Office of the Chief Scientist would prepare the advice on enhancing productivity through innovation.
The OCS consulted organisations, peak bodies and individuals across the government, industry and science sectors.
“There was a consistent view on what the breakthrough actions should be. We were told it is not just the effort that is important, but also the scale. Australia already has many support or incentive programs, which are considered useful,’’ Chubb said. “The proposed actions offer the chance of doing things differently to increase the chances of success.”
The five breakthrough actions are:-
1. The establishment of an Australian Innovation Council;
2. Strengthening business access to publicly-funded research expertise, infrastructure and data;
3. Encouraging mobility of researchers between academia and business and other enterprises;
4. Harmonising intellectual property frameworks across the publicly-funded research sector;
5. Emphasising the role of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in changing the culture
The announcement was welcomed by Engineers Australia.
“Innovation is critical to Australia’s ability to compete in an increasingly globalised market place and we are strongly supportive of Professor Chubb’s innovation agenda. Innovation cannot be left to chance, and Professor Chubb’s recommendations show a clear commitment to proactively driving innovation in our country,” said the organisation’s national president, Dr Marlene Kanga. “Engineers Australia strongly believes that fostering a culture of innovation will be a critical factor in Australia’s transformation from a resource-dependent economy to a high-tech, knowledge-based economy.”
The 2012 report of Engineers Australia’s Innovation Taskforce identified a range of barriers to innovation in Australia which have now also been acknowledged by Chubb.
“The expertise of the engineering profession is vital in converting innovative ideas into reality. Engineers drive technology and are at the forefront of innovation,” Kanga said. “Professor Chubb’s recommendations are clear, and their importance to Australia’s future should also be clear. Engineers Australia now calls on government to implement the five ‘breakthrough actions’, with a priority being given to the establishment of an Innovation Council to actively progress Australia’s innovation agenda.”