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Science and innovation

Science and Innovation

Australian innovations have improved the lives of billions. The black box flight recorder, Google Maps, Wi-Fi technology, the bionic ear, spray-on skin and the vaccine for cervical cancer are all the result of Australian ingenuity.

Australia's research institutions are among the world's best and offer unsurpassed opportunities for industry partnerships. Australian scientists collaborate internationally in many fields – from coral reef management to medicine and quantum computing. In fact, Australia places eighth among OECD+ economies (OECD countries plus China, Taiwan, and Singapore) in terms of share of the world’s top 1% of natural science and engineering publications. During 2011-2015, Australia ranked 9th in the world for scientific output, contributing to over 290,000 publications, representing 3.9% of the world’s output. During this same period, the United States was Australia’s top partner, contributing to over 30% of Australia’s co-publications.  Australia was the USA’s 7th co-publication partner, contributing to 6% of the USA’s co-publications. Australia’s gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) to GDP ratio was 2.1% in 2013–14, which is slightly above the OECD average of 2%.

To maintain this science and research excellence and encourage further international collaborations, the Australian Government continues to invest in research and development (R&D). In 2016-17 alone, the Australian Government is providing $10.1 billion in support of R&D. This is an increase of 3.55% on the Budget Estimate of $9.7 billion in 2015-16.This support is being provided through 15 government departments and their agencies, and is taking place as part of the Government's broader support for science, research and innovation.

In December 2015, the Australian Government announced funding of $1.1 billion over four years for the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). The NISA sets a focus on science, research and innovation as a key long-term driver of economic prosperity and growth for Australia. In 2017, the Australian Government also released the National Science Statement which sets out a long term vision and framework for Australia’s national science system. The Statement will provide stability and certainty to the way the government supports and invests in science. 

For more information on Australia’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and National Science Statement, please visit www.science.gov.au and www.innovation.gov.au.

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