A workshop held in Canberra on 21 March addressed the issue of ‘What is Australia’s capability to take advantage of the opportunities arising from emerging enabling technologies’. This represented the culmination of two years of work by the National Enabling Technologies Strategy Expert Forum, chaired by Ron Johnston.

The workshop concluded:

– There is significant capacity in foresight and strategic intelligence across Government Departments, research organisations and universities, but it remains highly fragmented. There is as need to establish a central searchable repository of information and expertise.

– There is a continuing challenge in effectively connecting Australia’s innovation ecosystem; there is abundant evidence of effective collaboration between researchers and via CRCs and the ARC Linkage Program between researchers and industry. At the same, national indicators suggest a poor performance and Australia’s industry structure makes collaboration of the kind embedded in Germany difficult. There is a case for a detailed investigation of the performance of and barriers to more effective connections.

– There is wide experience of what is required for effective translation of research into commercial value but building the necessary competences and supportive infrastructure remains a challenge in many institutions.