NSW government’s freshly minted R&D action plan gets a $26 million boost and wins praise from business group

research and development

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas.

The New South Wales government on Monday launched a plan to accelerate research and development in the state by boosting investment and collaboration between the government, universities and small businesses.

The blueprint, dubbed ‘Turning Ideas into Jobs — Accelerating Research and Development in NSW’, outlines five priority actions that aim to create jobs in emerging industries, including by launching a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, investing in the state’s research precincts, and creating an R&D matchmaking platform that connects sellers and buyers.

The NSW government will partly fund the plan using $26 million from the state’s 2020-21 budget that was allocated to research and development.

An advisory council, chaired by prominent corporate lawyer and board director David Gonski AC, drafted the plan and its five priority actions, after broad public consultation.

The report calls for the establishment of an SBIR program, which would provide grants to small and medium businesses to find and commercialise solutions for problems facing the NSW government and its agencies.

The report also recommends that businesses have greater access to government data to help them make better decisions.

The third priority action calls for the development of research hubs and precincts for university, research, startup, scaleup and SME collaborations.

The final priority action includes further strategic support for New South Wales universities and the establishment of an R&D matchmaking platform that connects sellers and buyers, and links researchers to research infrastructure and expertise.

The action plan has impressed business groups, with the Business Council of Australia (BCA) saying it will foster unparalleled collaboration across the whole community, and put NSW “at the front of the pack” when it comes to research and development.

“Combined with the state’s world-leading management of the virus and job creation-focussed budget, this helps put NSW at the front of the pack when it comes to attracting the new investment we need to create new jobs and world-leading industries,” BCA said in a statement.

Announcing the blueprint, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday that a collaborative approach to research and development will help create jobs and that for every $1 invested in research and development there can be an economic benefit of $14 in return.

“The pandemic has reinforced to us the power of collaboration,” Berejiklian said in a statement.

“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,” she added.

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