The innovation agenda for Australia over the next decade in Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century was outlined by the Australian Government on 12 May 2009.
Powering Ideas outlines a vision for a national innovation system in 2020 in which:
- The Australian Government clearly articulates its national priorities and aspirations to make the best use of resources, drive change and provide benchmarks against which to measure success.
- Universities and research organisations attract the best and brightest minds to conduct world-class research, fuelling the innovation system with new knowledge and ideas.
- Businesses of all sizes and in all sectors embrace innovation as the pathway to greater competitiveness, supported by government policies that minimise barriers and maximise opportunities for the commercialisation of new ideas and new technologies.
- Government and community sectors consciously seek to improve policy development and service delivery through innovation.
- Researchers, businesses and governments work collaboratively to secure value from commercial innovation and to address national and global challenges.
Australia can do better in building innovation skills, supporting research to create new knowledge, increasing business innovation and boosting collaboration. The Government’s vision is supported by specific policy ambitions, including:
- increasing the number of Australian research groups performing at world-class levels;
- boosting international research collaboration by Australian universities;
- significantly increasing the number of students completing higher degrees by research over the next decade;
- doubling the level of collaboration between Australian businesses, universities and publicly-funded research agencies;
- a 25 per cent increase in the proportion of businesses engaging in innovation; and continued improvement in the number of businesses investing in R&D.
Investment in Innovation Capacity
The Government’s Innovation Agenda sets out a framework of National Innovation Priorities and details concrete actions to help it achieve its policy ambitions.
The Government’s targeted investment in innovation capacity in this Budget will boost Australia’s research and innovation capacity at a critical time and directly support the Government’s longer term vision and policy ambitions by:
- reforming university research funding arrangements and boosting investment, with a focus on excellence and transparency, and increased support for postgraduate research students;
- investing in infrastructure and fellowships to ensure Australia stays ahead of the game in the three priority science fields of marine and climate, space and astronomy, and future industries – each reflecting Australia’s research strengths and helping to address challenges like climate change, rising health costs, and increasing global economic competition; and
- boosting business research and delivering better outcomes for the nation by: replacing the R&D Tax Concession with a new, simpler R&D Tax Credit; and taking an innovative approach to the commercialisation of research through the Commonwealth Commercialisation Institute.
Powering Ideas also outlines a range of actions that the Government has already taken to boost Australia’s innovation system, as well as new proposals to improve innovation within the Government and to reform the governance of the system.
Information on elements of the agenda were included in the 2009-10 Budget announcements.
This Agenda and the Government’s specific Budget measures respond to the key findings and recommendations from the Review of the National Innovation System, conducted in 2008 by an expert group chaired by Dr Terry Cutler. They also address the outcomes of a range of other reviews, including Professor Mary O’Kane’s review of the Cooperative Research Centres Program.
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