ATSE is supportive of the Queensland Government’s 10-Year Roadmap for the biomedical and life sciences sector. The Academy’s submission highlights some areas of the sector that could be strengthened by targeted actions in the Roadmap.
It is important that the vision statement for the industry is realistic and also acknowledges the commitment of the sector’s companies. The Academy strongly encourages Advance Queensland to examine MTPConnect’s 10-Year Sector Competiveness Plan, as there are a number of complementary objectives. It would also be advisable for the Government to share its considerations for developing its biomedical and life sciences sector with MTPConnect.
Finance is a major barrier for companies and it is vital that grant funding is secured and consistent over the long term. A number of Queensland funding schemes, such as Advance Queensland’s Business Development Fund, are providing much-needed assistance to Queensland businesses in gaining access to capital. However, state programs are often constrained by their small scale and small funding amounts, which limits their impact. ATSE therefore suggests that similar state and federal programs could be linked, to improve effectiveness. The Queensland Government could also strengthen its advice and information services regarding federal government funding opportunities, to improve awareness of funding opportunities.
One key weakness of the industry is collaboration. The Academy is very pleased that the Advance Queensland grants are focussed on collaboration. ATSE has undertaken a large amount of work recently to illustrate the need for greater incentives and measures to encourage industry-research collaboration, such as through the Research Engagement for Australia (REA) metrics. One positive change to the R&D Tax Incentive would be if was adjusted to encourage businesses to collaborate with research organisations. Programs that encourage business-research collaboration will also help fill skills gaps within the biomedical and life sciences industry.
ATSE agrees that data capture on the sector is critical and needs to be improved. An updated profile of the sector could be easily obtained from industry peak bodies, as many already have all the necessary data in their systems. Greater investment should also be made to improving the skills and capabilities of graduate students and for assisting businesses to be able to hire experienced and capable executives. Finally, infrastructure requirements of the industry could be more easily met if the Queensland Government collaborated with other states to combine resources and improve accessibility.
Full details are outlined in the attached submission.
Enhancing Australia's prosperity through technology and innovation