Publication of the NRF’s investment mandate is a welcome step forward in establishing the $15 billion programme for Australia’s innovation industries.
As the voice of industry, AusBiotech today welcomes the publication of the NRF’s investment mandate and it was positive to see the Fund will consider investment as noted in AusBiotech’s submission on the NRF.
“Currently, incentives and structural supports along the pipeline are patchy, inconsistent and uncoordinated. There is a valuable opportunity for the NRF to support the development and growth of a balanced community of companies at all stages/sizes in their commercialisation journey,” the legislation stated.
Also noted in the legislation, NRF Board representation includes expertise specific to medical sciences. Dr Katharine Giles, CEO and Managing Director of OncoRes Medical, was appointed to the NRF Board in September 2023, signalling that the NRF will take the ecosystem and its unique characteristics into account in designing the programme and how it invests in biomedical science and enabling technologies.
The mandate stated a benchmark return of 2-3 per cent (average) above the five-year Australian Government bond rate (weighted to the size and time of investing) over the medium and long term. The Ministers intend to review this benchmark return in three years.
A promising signal for industry, the also NRF mandate noted that “patient capital is necessary for sustainable growth opportunities, with investments beginning at a minimum of 10 years.”
“Providing genuinely patient and risk-tolerant capital enables a great opportunity to co-invest and partner with these companies, to support their growth and accelerate progression through the commercialisation pathway to reach market, and to succeed in co-investing in the economy of today and tomorrow.”
It was also positive to note that considerations will be given to investments with different risk profiles, such as emerging technologies and industries, as opposed to a one-fits-all approach.
The NRF has a focus on seven key priority areas: renewables and low emissions technologies; medical science; transport; value-add in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors; value-add in resources; defence capability; and enabling capabilities, with medical science and enabling capabilities being of particular interest to the sector.
The NRF is a key initiative of the Australian Government’s A Future Made in Australia policy, announced in the 2022-2023 October Federal Budget. The Fund will co-invest in independently assessed projects that drive economic growth across seven priority areas and over seven years, including $1.5 billion in ‘medical science’ as well as $1 billion each for critical technologies and advanced manufacturing.
Read the NRF’s investment mandate here.