The National Innovation and Science Agenda seeks to ensure that Australian businesses have the resources necessary to embrace technological development.
Disruptive tech startups are here to stay, and are likely to remain an important part of Australia’s IT industry, thanks to a new round of government support.
This recent display of support represents a commitment to the country’s innovation economy. As small, agile tech companies continue to prove their worth on the international stage, it’s important that people around Australia are confident in their ability to form their own tech businesses and find success in the industry.
The aim of the investment is to encourage innovation nationwide, ensuring Australian businesses have access to the resources and personnel necessary to adapt to changing technology trends and compete on a global scale.
What’s the focus of the innovation statement?
Dubbed The National Innovation and Science Agenda, the initiative is will help make Australian businesses more responsive to emerging technology while also encouraging science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in the next generation of IT candidates.
The agenda acknowledges there are a range of variables that contribute to a thriving startup scene. Not only do jobseekers need to be able to approach the industry with confidence, there also needs to be significant interest from venture capitalists and other members of the private sector.
While startups are often able to quickly latch onto innovative ideas and emerging technology – or create their own – they can be limited financially without external investment. Supporting the minds of charismatic startup founders with a renewed focus on private investment creates the perfect combination of cutting-edge ideas and the capital necessary to make them a reality.
According to Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne, it’s also important to make the research and development process more appealing to investors to create a commercial link.
“Improving funding incentives and fast-tracking collaborative research grants will encourage universities to partner with industry; and a new CRC round will open in February 2016,” he explained.
“We will provide long-term funding certainty for the critical national research infrastructure needed for cutting-edge science and to retain our top scientific talent.”
Startups demand government attention
Startups boast a number of key differences to their larger counterparts. Most notably, they’re much more agile, and can often respond to the trends defining their respective industries more effectively – or even be leaders for new developments.
In line with The National Innovation and Science Agenda is an initiative backed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) that will fund startup opportunities that are able to link scientific research with commercial development. So far, the government has pledged $70 million to be invested over the next 10 years.
With the aid of private sector involvement, CSIRO is hoping to expand this fund to $200 million in an attempt to take the financial risk out of scientific research and development.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall is confident the funding will create an essential link between scientific development and commercial applications, hopefully encouraging more young Australians to pursue STEM skills in the process.
“This commitment will enable us to get some of our great science to market much more rapidly,” he explained “Having a fund focused and administered close to the sources of invention and research is ideal for generating the innovation Australia needs.”
“The fund will bring intense focus to high growth potential opportunities and at the pace that markets demand.”
Naturally, these investments will match emerging technology, scientific know how and a commercial focus to allow Australian startups to foster a community that operates on the cutting edge.
Technology supports innovation
While there’s more to innovation than just new technology, the various digital developments occupying Australia are heavily entrenched in new hardware, software and other supporting products.
A key component of The National Innovation and Science Agenda involves promoting the cause for innovation and technological development within the public sector. Importantly, the government wants to open the doors to startups that wish to provide products and services to this sector, effectively giving them a new market to sell to.
The Digital Marketplace will act as a hub for these interactions, and increase the amount of locally sourced products and services used to support the Australian public sector. With the government spending $5 billion on IT procurement each year, this marketplace represents a valuable source of income for new startups.
This is intended to provide benefits for more than just the businesses that supply goods or services. By embracing the products and services offered by the country’s high-performing startups, the public sector gains a better chance of also becoming more innovative.
The government is also intending the investment to result in a more data-driven economy. As the influence of analytics continues to grow, businesses need to be able to leverage this information and adjust their operations accordingly.
Ultimately, The National Innovation and Science Agenda intends to ensure Australia is competitive on the global technology stage, and acknowledges the role that startups and their participants play in achieving this.