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Reviewing Australian innovation

The new Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has launched a wide ranging review of Australia’s national innovation system. It will be conducted by an expert panel chaired by Dr Terry Cutler.

“Our prosperity, our economic strength and our ability to compete in the global economy, all depend on valuing innovation, harnessing its potential and putting it to work for the benefit of all Australians,” said Senator Kim Carr.

The review has been tasked with working with States and Territories to streamline programs, reduce fragmentation and improve effectiveness. The initiative will also apparently review particular industries, such as automotive, textile, clothing and footwear.

Cutler is a well regarded expert on innovation and industry policy, and is currently a Director of CSIRO and Chair of the Advisory Board for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.

The schedule is to see a Green Paper by the end of July 2008, which will be followed by a White Paper response from Government.

The panel will include Professor Mary O’Kane, who will be charged with the specific task of reviewing the Cooperative Research Centres Program. A former professor of Electrical Engineering and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, Mary is a specialist in high-technology commercialisation, national and international research strategy and higher education policy.

Other panel members are:

• Dr Megan Clark (Vice President Technology, BHP Billiton)

• Professor Glyn Davis AC (Vice Chancellor, University of Melbourne)

• Professor Steve Dowrick (School of Economics, Australian National University)

• Professor John Foster (School of Economics, University of Queensland)

• Dr Nicholas Gruen (CEO, Lateral Economics)

• Ms Narelle Kennedy (Chief Executive, Australian Business Foundation)

• Ms Catherine Livingstone AO (former Chair of CSIRO and Director, Macquarie Bank and Telstra)

• Dr Jim Peacock AC (ex-officio, the Commonwealth Chief Scientist)

• Ms Patricia Kelly (ex-officio Deputy Secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research)

“In particular, we need to find ways to increase innovation performance across the economy, to ensure that business has better access to new ideas and new technologies and to bridge the divide between industry and research. In short, this review is about building a strong, robust and truly national innovation system to bolster Australia’s innovation performance, boosting productivity and helping secure high-wage, high-skill jobs for the future,” explained Carr.

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