A new report from CSIRO has found that while Australian investment in science and technology for disease preparedness has driven a strong response to COVID-19, there are still barriers to the adoption of innovation.
CSIRO said its 'value of science and technology report' has identified five key barriers to realising value from innovation. It is also suggesting solutions, based on interviews with private and public sector leaders and extensive analysis of trends in the economy.
According to the report, the barriers are declining business investment in innovation, Australia's poor record on the commercialisation of research, a skills gap, resistance to overseas and ideas and wariness of new technologies.
CSIRO Futures lead economist Dr Katherine Wynn said while there are barriers to innovation, they can and need to be overcome if Australia is going to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Science and technology have always played a key role in supporting Australia’s growth and productivity, with examples in this report like Cochlear hearing implants, Google Maps, canola for biofuel, PERC solar cells, and x-ray crystallography," said Dr Wynn.
“But as investment in innovation has dropped in recent years, we’ve seen our economy start to slow and weaken, and now we’ve been hit with COVID-19, so science and technology are more critical than ever.
“If businesses act now, there are plenty of opportunities to enhance how they navigate the innovation cycle and realise greater value from their investments, including improved productivity, protection from market shocks, stronger international competitiveness, and social and environmental benefits.”
The report identifies several solutions to help businesses overcome the barriers, including 'mission-led innovation' based on the creation of coalitions of business, research and government partners focussed on common challenges.
It also proposes building stronger connectivity by dismantling siloes and a look 'beyond borders' by collaborating to compete.