Almost 20 companies joined AusBiotech’s policy roundtable to discuss opportunities in NSW with the Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, who has been tasked with accelerating R&D investment.
Ideas included developing a roadmap to highlight the work and support already being offered in NSW, driving innovation through procurement, and increasing life science literacy and engagement between Government and industry.
A range of thoughtful views and ideas were shared with Ms Upton, with consideration of near-term, low-hanging achievements that could be instituted quickly, together with longer-term ideas to build a comprehensive innovation framework.
NSW holds a great deal of leading science, but companies can find it difficult to identify support at key inflection points. While staying relevant is a barrier, a NSW roadmap was offered to Ms Upton as a practical and key information source for industry. The roadmap could hold information on how the NSW government assists the innovation ecosystem, where to go to find out about regulatory requirements, and what tools (such as grants and funding mechanisms) are available to organisations at different stages of their commercialisation process.
The importance of procurement was highlighted, and the opportunity to drive innovation and local economic development through it. A discussion on how to encourage businesses to stay in NSW cities and regions considered the idea of adding weighting to procurement applications from local companies, in recognition to those who are investing in their states. Procurement criteria could also consider applications from a broader, holistic perspective, taking into account innovation and health benefits further down the care journey, together with the cost value. Encouraging local innovation through procurement would also help to facilitate greater international growth by demonstrating homegrown success metrics.
Building life science literacy was highlighted as a key near-term opportunity available to the State. Biotech science being researched and developed, and the pathway to market, is complex, and building Government’s capabilities during a period when we cannot fly internationally demonstrates agile leadership. AusBiotech will work to deliver a Science & Research Breakfast Seminar and increase the awareness and promote the understanding of biotech’s investment and growth potential.
AusBiotech also raised the opportunity with Ms Upton to have a life science representative on the Council advising Government on R&D in NSW.
NSW has shown a commitment to life sciences, with strong support of AusBiotech’s annual BIO delegation and showcasing NSW innovation on the Australian Pavilion, launching the NSW Medical Technology Industry Development Strategy 2018 to promote further growth and innovation in the industry, and featuring biotech throughout its report NSW 2040 Economic Blueprint Investing in the state’s future.
AusBiotech’s Sector Snapshot 2019 revealed that New South Wales is a critical life science hub in Australia, with 652 organisations (around 35 per cent), employing more than 88,000 people. New South Wales also holds more medical technology & digital health (152) and food & agriculture (96) companies than any other state in Australia. According to the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council’s 2019 Scorecard, approximately $11 billion was invested in R&D in NSW in 2018, equivalent to 1.9% of the Gross State Product (GSP).
The Accelerating R&D in NSW Initiative will deliver a Plan of Action in 2020 for making NSW the R&D leader within Australia and a world-class contributor and will complement existing NSW Government strategies.