With investment shifting away from the mining and resources sector, a strong dollar and relatively high business costs, Australia is facing a serious productivity challenge. This challenge has put significant pressure on Australian businesses.
A strong and sustained focus on microeconomic reform, and accelerating the move to producing higher value products and services, is vital in putting the Australian economy on a stronger footing. The knowledge created by our research institutions provides significant opportunities to increase the value-add of products and services delivered by the Australian economy.
An obvious area for accelerated action is to improve the frequency and effectiveness of collaboration between businesses and researchers, ensuring strong commercial outcomes from such endeavours.
As demonstrated in other jurisdictions, a powerful driver for productivity growth is innovation through collaborative research and development (R&D). North America is the prime example of the success of collaborative R&D; where trillions of dollars in wealth has been created on the back of collaborative R&D, including the establishment of global brands such as Google and Hewlett-Packard.
Australia has a clear competitive advantage in the production of research, both in terms of spend and quality. Australia spends approximately $30 billion annually on R&D across all sectors, and is ranked 11 thin the world by the 2013 Global Innovation Index for innovation inputs (acknowledging Australia’s excellence in terms of publications and percentage of GDP spent on R&D). However, when it comes to our efficiency in converting research dollars into innovation and commercial success, we perform poorly – ranking 116 out of 142 countries.
As a part of our Thinking Business: Industry-Research Collaboration Project, the Sydney Business Chamber and the NSW Business Chamber have identified practical solutions to improve the conversion of Australia’s considerable research expertise into commercial success. This paper provides a road map for government, industry and the research sector to improve the effectiveness and frequency of industry-led collaborative research, harnessing Australia’s considerable research expertise to find innovative solutions for industry problems.The priority of the paper is to boost the frequency and effectiveness of collaboration that is driven by the business community for a commercial purpose.