Innovation and Science Australia has handed down a total of 30 recommendations to the federal government as part of the public release of its 2030 Strategic Plan.
The 2030 Strategic Plan is a roadmap delivered to advise the Australian government on how to develop the nation’s industry policies out to 2030.
“Looking towards 2030, innovation will be integral to the expansion of Australia’s economy, keeping its workforce strong, and addressing societal challenges,” ISA chairman Bill Ferris wrote in the plan’s introduction.
“Australia will need to be competitive in a global innovation race by scaling up more high growth industries and companies; commercialising more high value products and services; fostering great talent; and daring to tackle global challenges.
“Yet just at the time when Australia needs to accelerate its innovation performance, we are falling behind our global peers, particularly in student performance in science and mathematics, and in business investment in research and development. This is more than a canary chirp in our economic mineshaft: it is a clarion call for national action.”
The 30 recommendations have been delivered with five key policy imperatives in mind. These include education, industry, government, research and development, and culture and ambition.
The ISA also proposes within each key policy imperative strategic opportunities that are available to government to ensure each recommendation can be actioned.
Below is a summary of the 30 recommendations made in the 2030 Plan:
- Strengthen training for pre-service and in-service teachers by investing in quality teaching that focus on a nationally agreed minimum number of annual hours in discipline-specific training, and monitor the entry standards for initial teacher education courses to include STEM teaching.
- Prepare students for post-school STEM occupations by exploring opportunities to encourage participation in STEM subjects in high school, as well as strengthen education skills such as hypothesis-driven problem solving, systematic enquiry and logical thinking.
- Improve transparency and accountability across the system including raising the national minimum standards in National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).
- Review the Vocation Education and Training (VET) system and report back in 12 months on strategy to ensure it can be responsive to new priorities presented by innovation, automation and new technologies, and can be internationally competitive.
- Continue to expand and reform the VET system including linking VET student loan funding to employment outcomes, and encourage industry employers and VET providers to consult on identifying areas of expected skills shortages of potential high-growth sectors.
- Reverse the current decline in business expenditure on R&D by improving government support and ensuring, at a minimum, the total government support for science, research and innovation does not fall below its medium-term average of 0.63 per cent of gross domestic product, and implementing the recommendations of the 2016 Review of the R&D Tax Incentive
- Enhance efforts to help young firms access export markets by increasing funding for Export Market Development Grants
- Prioritise investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning in the medium- to long-term as outlined by the forthcoming Digital Economy Strategy
- Establish protocols including consumer data rights to maintain healthy levels of competition in knowledge-intensive industry sectors
- Strengthen efforts in talent attraction and skilled migration through continuing improving marketing to suitable talent, especially through Austrade
- Create a more flexible regulatory environment that fosters innovation by encouraging collaboration between all levels of government
- Encourage social innovation investment and financial returns in Australia by strengthening the existing policy environment
- Improve provision and use of open government data by developing government capability and capacity to deliver accessible, accurate and detailed public data
- Grow government procurement from SMEs by 33 percent by 2022, and ensure the Department of Innovation reports of the progress of this annually
- Increase the use of innovative procurement strategies such as establishing programs that promote, track and report on progress towards procurement practices that drive innovation, and develop contractual frameworks to facilitate procurement from startups and young firms
- Maximise spillover benefits of major government programs such as, for instance, how Defence Science and Technology Group is engaging with companies to develop prototypes
- Instruct the Digital Transformation Agency to explore opportunities to achieve half of the projected 12 percent of savings from digitising service delivery by 2022 and the balance by 2026.
- Review the Australian government’s Public Service on how it can play a greater role in innovation policy development, implementation and delivery
- Introduce a tax offset of up to 20 per cent to incentivise collaboration
- Evaluate the benefits of scaling-up industry higher degree through research placement programs
- Evaluate the impact of recent changes to incentivise collaboration in 2022 where the review should cover funding changes, progress on addressing the findings and recommendations of the Review of Australia’s Researching Training System, and progress on ensuring that university career paths allow for flexibility between industry and academia
- Increase commercialisation capability in research organisations by establishing a new stream of funding for translational activities
- Develop and release an Australian Innovation Precincts Statement to shape Australian Government involvement in emerging localised innovation ecosystems in cities and regions
- Establish secure, long-term funding for national research infrastructure
- Maintain a long-term policy commitment to a achieve greater gender diversity in STEM
- ISA to monitor availability of risk capital to high-growth businesses
- Establish a “National Mission” to help make Australia the healthiest nation
- Adopt a framework to continue to identify and implement “National Missions”
- Invest in developing a more effective framework to evaluate the performance of Australia’s innovation programs, including introducing a requirement that new government funding programs aimed at supporting innovation will dedicate 2 per cent of their budget for the evaluation of outcome
- Support the development of innovation metrics and methodologies to fully capture innovation and link it to economic, social and environmental benefits. In particular, request the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Department of Innovation to review business and research and development data collections to ensure they are fit for purpose; and commission an independent body to review existing innovation metrics