Innovation Report reveals strengths in science and innovation

Thursday, 18 May, 2006

The Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP has released the Australian Government's Innovation Report 2005-06.

The Innovation Report provides a comprehensive overview of the Australian Government's policies and programs in science and innovation, focussing on the three key themes of Backing Australia's Ability:

  • strengthening Australia's ability to undertake research;
  • accelerating the commercial application of ideas;
  • developing and retaining Australian skills.

A significant aspect of the report is advice on the progress that departments and agencies have made in the last year in the implementation of the National Research Priorities.

The report identifies Australian businesses as the largest performers of research and development, noting that business expenditure on research and development is at the highest recorded level. A record number of small and medium sized firms obtained support through the R&D Tax Offset which helps small companies undertake innovative research and development.

Small innovative firms are also being assisted through a range of programs overseen by the Industry Research and Development Board including the COMET initiative, where private sector business experts help firms to commercialise new ideas.

Both large and small firms get assistance through the new Industry Cooperative Innovation Program where groups of companies work together on strategic innovation projects.

Increasing research efforts and inter-agency collaboration in key areas is enabling considerable long-term benefits to Australia; for example, the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council have finalised arrangements for a new funding initiative called Thinking Systems, which will support research across sectors, institutions and research disciplines.

The initiative will support innovative research at the intersections of neuroscience, genetics, proteomics, cognitive science and information technology.

"The Report reveals the significant achievements that are being made in Australia's science and innovation system and the success of the Australian Government's science and innovation package Backing Australia's Ability," Bishop said.

The report identifies the range of support mechanisms for innovation across the Commonwealth Government, revealing the strong across-government focus of support for science and innovation.

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