While it is fair to say that technology industries like information technologies (or ICT), biotech, medtech, fintech and cleantech have some common traits - all hold promise for our future and all are research and science-based knowledge industries – they are in fact very different from each another.
In the current rhetoric on supporting innovation to underpin our nation’s productivity, to get the best results from policy development, should these technologies be considered one homogenous group or recognised as a disparate grouping of tech sectors?
Dr Anna Lavelle, CEO of AusBiotech, believes the technology industries are a heterogeneous grouping, but says “if the sectors could work in concert where they share common ground, Australia could have a serious chance of attracting policy support to transform discovery into innovation for economic and social benefit.”
“What suits one technology sectors will not suit another. They have very different life cycles, they dominantly prefer different types of intellectual property protections – some use patents, some copyright or know-how, some use industrial designs – they have various commercial structures, and points of maturation,” said Dr Lavelle.
“In the lead up to the Federal Government’s Innovation Agenda, which is expected in the coming weeks, it has been somewhat lost in the hype that technological innovation will not win from a one-size-fits-all approach.
“ICT does not equal biotech or medtech, and making policy to suit only ICT, or only biotech, and expecting innovation to win is missing the point and possibly the great opportunity that is available to Australia now.
“Commercialising good science – from research and development, to manufacturing, to attracting capital to develop therapies, to how we pay for them as a society – all requires new thinking and an entrepreneurial spirit.
“Like many, we believe reforms are needed in tax, capital attraction and how we fund commercialisation and translation of our technologies. Australia’s biotechnology industry, like the other technology industries, has a key role to play in our future, in keeping our brightest talent on-shore, in underpinning our economy, delivering quality jobs and technologies to improve our productivity and our lives,” said Dr Lavelle.