Australia’s innovation system has evolved over the past century in response to many different drivers and policy initiatives. Our innovation system has now become complex – overly so – and fragmented – significantly so – at a time when there is need for cohesion, coherence and urgency. Equally, it has become internally competitive at a time when there is need for collaboration and connectivity and more coordinated multidisciplinary approaches.
The NIS Review is timely because at present we observe, inter alia, that our capacity for R&D is deteriorating, due in part to highly leveraged public funding initiatives and marginal costing models. R&D providers are being diverted from their core purposes; and previously diverse but complementary roles are now converging with increased competition for less funding. At the same time, industries world wide are once again becoming more dependent on universities and public sector research as they shed their own R&D facilities and capability, recognising that ‘open innovation’ provides greater flexibility, diversity and generally better return on their investment.