The NSW Government has released a new Action Plan aimed at making research and development a key jobs creator across the state.
The Turning Ideas into Jobs – Accelerating Research & Development in NSW Action Plan recommends five Priority Actions and 16 Supporting Actions that will accelerate the rate at which ideas are translated into new industries, jobs, products and services.
The five recommended Priority Actions are:
Launch a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program – provide competitive grants for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find and commercialise innovative solutions to well-defined problems for NSW Government agencies.
Boost open data – release new government datasets so businesses can make better decisions, entrepreneurs can build new businesses and the government can solve complex challenges.
Turbocharge precincts – develop precincts to attract national and global technology industries and investment, and drive collaboration between universities, research organisations, start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs, to commercialise R&D.
Target strategic support for NSW universities – collaborate on research that drives future NSW strategic growth industries and research-led industry attraction, and better leverage Commonwealth Government research funding.
Establish an R&D matchmaking platform – better connect research ‘sellers’ and ‘buyers’ and link researchers to research infrastructure and expertise.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the report was 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.”
The report was prepared by the Premier’s Parliamentary Secretary Gabrielle Upton, guided by an Advisory Council chaired by David Gonski AC.
In developing the Action Plan a comprehensive public consultation process was undertaken to finalise the five priority actions, with submissions received from government agencies, 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.”