A flourishing research and development (R&D) sector is key to the ongoing success and growth of any global 'city, so late last year, Premier Gladys Berejiklian tasked her Parliamentary Secretary Gabrielle Upton with leading an initiative to accelerate R&D investment. Her goal is to make NSW the Australian leader in research and development.
Research and development is the main source of innovation, driving economic growth, jobs of the future as well as improving public health and social wellbeing across the community. Commercialising the results of this R&D is where Ms Upton is focussing her efforts, increasing and utilising the stock of knowledge we produce in schools and universities and translating this into knowledge jobs, services, manufacturing and exports.
The economic levers in NSW have been concentrated in recent years on the $96 billion programs of building hard infrastructures like road, rail and building precincts. She wants to increase the government’s spend on soft infrastructure – research and development. With forty precincts currently being developed across the State, investment in key precincts like Tech Central, Westmead, Randwick and Northern Sydney health precincts are pivotal to drive medical science research projects as well as in other manufacturing areas including artificial intelligence, automation, electric vehicles and robotics.
Key to success to enhancing and sustaining research and development investment is the commercialisation of new products and services, and Upton is focused on connecting and facilitating collaboration with targeted venture capitalists to help make this happen.
The university sector’s role and access to this deep and vast stock of knowledge it creates needs also to be leveraged and Sydney University’s Prof. Duncan Ivison, believes that there is more work to do to enhance the level of collaboration between government and the Universities to ensure the investment in research and development does not continue to decline. Ms Upton is committing to turn this around and is working to have greater support from the government in the process, including utilising many economic levers such as R&D tax incentives.
UTS’s Alfredo Martinez-Coll sees that another area the government can be instrumental is in relation to internships and development to support growth in this vital sector.
Gabrielle reiterated the important role government could play by calling out and addressing the problems holding R&D back and improving collaboration and co-operation between the groups. She encourages business, industry and universities to direct their issues, ideas and insights to her so she can focus her team’s efforts to grow research and development in NSW.
*For an update on Sydney University’s latest R&D news check out their Research Impact page.
The Sydney Business Chamber held an online forum with The Hon Gabrielle Upton MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier on 25 May 2020.
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Media contact: David Peters 0413 872 491
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