This article argues that to be innovative, Australia needs to invest more in research and development (R&D).


Gill Savage and Matthew Page assert that cultural cringe is alive and well in Australia when it comes to supporting home-grown innovation. They claim that despite several world-changing Australian inventions, such as the black-box flight recordercochlear implant and Wi-Fi, Australia has never been a country ‘ economically geared for innovation’. The authors believe that investment in ideas has always taken second place to exporting natural resources. To change this mindset, Savage and Page assert that there are two challenges to address as follows:

  • First, the Australian government needs to understand that a robust research base underpins innovation and a weak university sector limits the opportunity to lead in research and development.
  • Second, without whole-of nation investment in innovation (including government and businesses), entrepreneurs cannot self-fund and will continue seeking funding overseas.

Savage and Page claim that:

“Australia excels in the ‘R’ of ‘R&D’ and falls short in the ‘D’.”