Research and development will become a key jobs creator in NSW as the Government launches a bold new plan to make the State an R&D world leader.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian today launched the Turning Ideas into Jobs – Accelerating Research & Development in NSW Action Plan.
The report, which was delivered to the Premier by her Parliamentary Secretary Gabrielle Upton, is the NSW Government’s first significant step towards reforming the R&D sector.
“The pandemic has reinforced to us the power of collaboration,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The private sector, academia and the NSW Government collaborated to unlock crucial supplies and to solve difficult problems on behalf of the people of NSW.
“We are now bottling that spirit of collaboration and applying it to how we support R&D across the State. This is only the start of the commitments we will be making to R&D.
“R&D will be a powerful jobs creator during our economic recovery. For every dollar invested in R&D there can be an economic benefit of 14 dollars in return.”
Ms Upton worked with an Advisory Council of eminent leaders chaired by David Gonski AC and undertook broad public consultation to finalise five priority actions.
The NSW Government has already committed $26 million from the NSW 2020/21 Budget to fund two of the priority actions in the report including launching a Small Business Innovation Research program and establishing an R&D matchmaking platform.
Ms Upton said the Advisory Council conducted extensive consultations with leaders in large, SME and start-up businesses, investors, educators, researchers and innovators across all sectors.
“Their message to our Government was the increasing need to be proactive in supporting and attracting new businesses, especially in future industries that will sustain economic growth, productivity and employment,” Ms Upton said.
“In a post-COVID-19 world, this means that the NSW Government’s record investments in ‘hard’ infrastructure such as roads and public transport needs to be complemented by strategic investment in ‘soft’ infrastructure – R&D, research translation and infrastructure – which drives these growing and emerging industries.”
Mr Gonski welcomed the report and thanked the wide range of people and organisations who contributed to it.
“This report comes at a critical time. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on investment in R&D and the downstream impacts on economic growth and job creation makes this task an urgent one,” Mr Gonski said.
“Decisive government action to attract and leverage investment, improve cross-sector collaboration and rapidly translate ideas into new products and services will be integral to our recovery from this crisis.”
NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said the Action Plan’s focus is on implementing its five Priority Actions in a coherent, integrated and sustainable way to accelerate the translation and commercialisation of research in NSW.
“Another crucial aspect is the recommendation of the launch of a program of NSW R&D Missions aimed at solving the state’s long-term strategic challenges in areas including bushfire response, drought resilience, health and the transition to renewable energy.”
The NSW push to turn ideas into jobs is already underway, with the homegrown AgTech pioneer, Agerris, developing robotic and AI technologies to increase on-farm operational productivity.
Agerris technology was partially supported by a $1.3m grant from the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer to develop and deploy an Agricultural Robotics STEM program.
Agerris can trace its origins to the world-class Australian Centre for Field Robotics based in Sydney and recently raised $6.5 million in new funding to commercialise its research. Agerris currently has 13 employees and is using these funds to build and scale their innovative robots here in NSW, providing high quality jobs.
Given the size of Australia’s agricultural sector, the opportunities for applying cutting edge technologies to increase productivity are huge.
Find out more about the report and the five-point Action Plan.