Innovation Report shows change needed

25 November 2015

Innovation Australia chair Bill Ferris says the Australian Government’s innovation and science agenda to be announced early next month will have the ability to effect real change on Australia’s innovation ecosystem.

Launching the Australian Innovation Systems Report at a function held by the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Adelaide, Mr Ferris said he was heartened that the momentum for change came from the top down and came at a critical time for Australia.

“My sense is Australians understand the importance of this innovation imperative and I share the Prime Minister’s view when he recently said ‘this is a very exciting time to be an Australian’”, Mr Ferris said.

“I have been privileged to witness up close the continuing discoveries and inventions arising from Australia’s health and medical research sector.

“This remarkable performance now places Australia in the top three or four nations worldwide in terms of breakthroughs as verified and acknowledged by the leading medical science publications.

“I cannot however make a similar boast about our ability to commercialise and get our fair share of the world’s marketplace for this intellectual property and inventiveness.

Australia is struggling to even stay within the top 30 OECD nations in terms of any commercialisation metrics. In doing so we are now at risk of squandering opportunities created by our highly credentialed R&D platforms.”

The Australian Innovation Systems Report 2015, produced by Innovation Australia, found that key issues included:

  • Australia is highly ranked as an early adopter of others’ innovations and a very good modifier. Yet it ranks poorly in new-to-the-world and new-to-the-market innovations of its own.
  • Lack of access to additional funds and lack of skilled people are the two main barriers to innovation for all young SME’s.
  • 75 per cent of all Australian businesses have siloed or have no innovation culture at all.
  • While academic collaboration nationally and internationally is thriving, collaboration between Australian businesses and universities and research organisations is amongst the lowest in the OECD.

Mr Ferris identified six key challenges to accelerating innovation: access to risk capital funding, access to business and entrepreneurship skills, access to international markets,
lack of active collaboration for commercial outcomes, insufficient investment and interest in the STEM curricula, and a risk averse culture.

“I am confident that this will be a comprehensive blueprint that will effect real change. I believe it will include a number of significant measures to deal with the list of challenges,” Mr Ferris said.

To view the Australian Innovation Systems Report 2015 visit

Media contact: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Media Team: 02 6213 6308 or

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