The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 16,000 companies in Australia are collaborating formally with a university. And countless more have university links that are less formal — including through student work placements and local community ties.
A lift in that number to 24,000 firms would boost Australia’s business-university formal collaboration rate to that of innovation powerhouses such as Israel and the United States.
This would also see Australia leap nine places on the World Economic Forum index — moving from the 27th to the 18th most innovative country in the world.
Over the past decade, a number of government policy and funding initiatives have sought to lift collaboration rates in Australia. Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs), university precincts, industry clusters and growth centres have all played a role.
The Australian Government’s R&D Tax Incentive also supports businesses undertaking research and development. Innovation and Science Australia has recommended the R&D Tax Incentive be expanded to include a premium rate for businesses that collaborate with publicly-funded research organisations, including universities.
Business has called for more practical and clear information on how to build, maintain and get the most out of successful innovation partnerships.
Universities Australia hopes this publication is a further contribution towards that goal.