Media Release: One Small Step for Innovation, but One Glaring Omission

April 20, 2023

The Government’s recently announced $2.2bn Research Commercialisation is a step in the right direction, but falls short of innovation revolution.

At a National Press Club address on Tuesday 1 February, the Prime Minister announced Australia’s Economic Accelerator (AEA), which features as part of a $2.2 billion package to focus the commercialisation of the six national manufacturing priority areas (resources and critical minerals, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence and space).

This program places a renewed focus on industry engagement and participation, with a significant funding increase in venture capital support for research commercialisation.

However while Per Capita’s Senior Research Fellow (Industry Policy), Shirley Jackson, welcomed the announcement, he noted how the program fell short.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction that will help increase Australia’s research capacity, but it falls well short of making us into an innovative, research driven economy, like world leaders South Korea, Japan, Germany and the United States,” Mr Jackson said.

“While a focus on research commercialisation has been long overdue, as many of our best and brightest have had to look overseas to bring their ideas into production, the program misses the mark on a number of crucial factors.

“We’ve got more funding coming to the CSIRO, but it’s still subject to the public service wide employment cap.

“It’s excellent to see an additional 1,800 PhDs being funded, but while the employment cap is still in effect, the CSIRO will have to turn away most of the graduates away, further hamstringing our premiere scientific institution.

“A true innovation revolution would start with a renewed focus on the value of our public research institutions, including the CSIRO and Australia’s university sector.

“We need to see a restoration of independence for the Australian Research Council, an investment in pure research streams not just applied industry partnerships, and most importantly, we need to see the government retain a commercial interest in projects funded by government programs.” Mr Jackson said.

For more information please contact Shirley Jackson, Senior Research Fellow (Industry Policy) on 0423 504 191