Bill Ferris: We have to get better at collaboration

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Bill Ferris AC, chair of Innovation and Science Australia, has called for greater collaboration between Australian businesses and publicly funded research institutions in a speech delivered at the Westmead Research Hub.

Mr Ferris told the audience matching research excellence with translation and commercialisation excellence is Australia’s greatest challenge and opportunity.

“Better translation of research into commercial outcomes underpins economic growth and global competitiveness.” he said.

Mr Ferris also issued a warning: “If we fail to translate research into commercial outcomes, we will sell Australia short on jobs, economic growth and quality of life.”

“A future Australia must be propelled by its knowledge intensive sectors, one such stand-out sector is health and medical research.” he said.

Mr Ferris highlighted the Westmead Innovation District as an example of how collaboration between business and research institutions can deliver for the Australian economy and the health and wellbeing of Australians.

“The Westmead Innovation District has the potential to deliver many thousands of skilled jobs by 2030 on the back of continuing medical discoveries, clinical demonstration of improved health outcomes, and success for new medical products and services in domestic and world markets” he said

Driving increased collaboration between business and research institutions is a key priority of Innovation and Science Australia. The upcoming audit of Australia’s innovation system and the following 2030 Strategic Plan will is designed to provide whole-of-government advice on encouraging collaboration and increasing Australia’s rates of research commercialisation.

Mr Ferris urged researchers and business to actively seek opportunities to collaborate.

“There needs to be more development and clinical trialling, much greater enthusiasm and respect for funding spin-offs and commercialising ventures, and respect for those who take this risk.” he added.