A future made in Australia needs to be built on Australian research and development

12 April 2024

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) welcomes the vision for innovation and prosperity that the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese outlined today. ATSE has long called for ambitious action to take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us in energy, manufacturing, advanced technologies and more.

Such action will crucially help arrest Australia’s slowing productivity growth and declining economic complexity that puts us at 93rd in the World. We look forward to seeing the details of the new initiatives as they are announced.

The Prime Minister has called for ideas to allow Australia to best capitalise on our comparative advantages and invest in new industries. Australia’s science, research and innovation sector will need to lead the way in this transformation – developing new industries, skills, products and opportunities for the nation. A step change is needed to enable this. As a first step, we call on the government to boost investment in research and development (R&D) to 3% of GDP.

Australian investment in R&D has reached a 30-year low. We only spend 1.68% of our GDP on R&D. Meanwhile, our competitors are growing their R&D spending, with the USA, Japan, Germany and many other developed countries spending over 3% of their GDP on R&D each year.

“The Prime Minister has said the world won’t wait for us. He’s right. We need an immediate and sustained increase in R&D funding to make sure Australia doesn’t get left behind.”

“Australian research and innovation will be the driving force behind our future prosperity. Australia cannot afford to neglect R&D any longer,” said ATSE CEO Kylie Walker.

ATSE looks forward to working with the Australian Government as this plan is developed and implemented. Australia’s leading scientist, technologists and engineers stand ready support Australia’s innovation future.

ATSE has recently developed a number of high-impact proposals that directly support the aims of the Future Made in Australia plan: