Big Bang theory for innovation bucks in western Sydney 

Business and government have united to get a bigger bang from innovation bucks in western Sydney.

Business and government have united to get a bigger bang from innovation bucks in western Sydney.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb joined 60 leaders from the business and university sectors and as well as government representatives for a workshop to find ways to capitalise on the $30 billion spent on research and development in Australia each year.

Western Sydney Director of the Sydney Business Chamber western Sydney director David Borger said a ''huge amount of money'' was spent on research and development in Australia, about $30 billion each year, ''but we are not seeing the profitable, commercial products and services that justify that investment.”  

“Other nations are turning their research and ideas into real concepts that generate wealth, jobs and investment. The United States has created trillions of dollars in economic output through industry-research sector collaboration and has companies such as Dell and Google to show for it.

 “Australians are great at research. We currently rank 11th for innovation input in the Global Innovation Index, but we drop to 32nd place when it comes to turning those ideas into wealth creating goods and services.

 “With Australia facing significant productivity challenges we need to start cashing in on our research success. 

''Clearly we can do better and we will need to do better to succeed in a world economy driven by new technologies and services.

 “That’s why the Sydney Business Chamber, with the support of the NSW Government, [convened] this meeting of the minds to strengthen the connection between Australian business and our research assets.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade & Investment, Andrew Stoner, told the meeting that unlocking western Sydney’s full potential was at the heart of the state government’s economic development agenda for 2014.

“Western Sydney is one of Australia’s largest and most diverse economies and its success is of critical importance to the NSW economy as a whole,'' he said.

“The NSW Government’s economic development priorities for 2014 include specific initiatives focussed on driving jobs and economic growth in western Sydney.

“The NSW Government’s support for this event reflects our commitment to investigate opportunities to link research and industry, including a specific focus on advanced manufacturing in western Sydney.” 

Mr Borger said greater commercialisation of innovative research had the potential to reverse the decline in Australia’s manufacturing sector and provide new jobs for western Sydney.

 “Western Sydney is the centre of Australia’s advanced manufacturing base,'' he said.

''There are some amazing businesses doing cutting edge work in western Sydney but we need to be doing a heck of a lot more of it.”  

Vice Chancellor Professor Barney Glover from the University of Western Sydney told the group that western Sydney had everything needed for thriving knowledge-based economy.

“Western Sydney is at the heart of Australia’s developing innovative and world leading health industry,'' he said.

''To continue this successful trajectory, research cannot be viewed as a passive or isolated component of a health system, it must be integrated with the work undertaken by industry.

"This is why UWS is committed to being a dynamic and engaged participant in joint industry and research health initiatives and in providing skilled health professionals to industry.”

The Roundtable will include representatives from critical industries in Sydney including Northrop Grumman Australia, a global aerospace and defense technology company.

Mr Borger said the relationship between industry and the research sector was crucial to the health of the Australian economy.

 “If we get this right, the creation of globally recognised companies such as Cochlear will not be exceptional, they will be the norm,'' he said.

“We are hopeful that this high level discussion between the leaders of industry and research will only be the beginning of a new collaboration that will deliver world-changing technologies and innovations.” 

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