Seeking better ways to do business at ASiX

Monday, 25 August, 2014

The inaugural Australian Science Industry Exchange event (ASiX) was held in Melbourne last week, with over 80 of the country’s science sector business and technology leaders discussing the state of the industry and seeking to find better ways to do business. The event was organised by vendor association Science Industry Australia (SIA).

SIA Executive Director Duncan Jones opened the event by saying that while science has been “confined to the backburner”, with Australia being the only country in the OECD without a science minister, now was the ideal time for buyers and sellers to come together and look at creating new opportunities.

Chief Scientist and SIA patron Professor Ian Chubb gave yet another impassioned keynote, asking the collection of industry leaders “What is wrong with us?”. This followed some simple facts around the collaboration between government, research and industry in this country compared to others - “Australia is currently in cruise control while the UK and US are firmly stepping on the pedal with significantly more funding for start-ups” - and that it is “complacent and pathetic” that brilliant young researchers in Australia are making discoveries here and then looking to commercialise them overseas, due to the lack of government support for it to be done here.

NAB Group Chief Economist Alan Oster followed with a presentation outlining the reality behind the current economic outlook in Australia, and pointing out that something needs to replace mining as the shining revenue-producing light. He added that with 100,000 jobs expected to be lost from mining in the near future, it is time for other sectors to be supported and contribute more to our GDP. With a different approach from government and the public sector, science innovation and commercialisation could and should play a bigger role in our economic future.

Other highlight sessions during an information-packed day which challenged all to look differently at the opportunities for science in Australia included the future for CRCs; maximising ROI in medical research; biosecurity; changes in purchasing trends and systems; biotechs and the role they are playing; stimulating the research sector; and a vision for the future of the CSIRO.

Feedback from attendees at the event was very positive, and Jones said this would become an annual event.

“ASiX will move to Sydney next year, and we look forward to the event growing into a must-attend for the leaders in our industry,” he said. “We hope it will make a difference and help the industry take a stronger, combined voice to those who make policy and funding decisions in the future.”

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