NSW sets R&D funding priorities for next 20 years

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Digital, materials and chemistry, biotechnology, and energy have been identified as the key technology areas for further investment and activity by the New South Wales government under a two-decade research and development roadmap to be released on Tuesday.

The four areas and 39 applications, including financial technology and quantum computing, have been earmarked for more government support because of the state’s strategic needs and competitive advantages.

Action plans will be developed for each application with the goal to research and develop the areas over the next 20 years into world leading industries and new jobs in New South Wales.

Alister Henskens gets a tour with Silicon Quantum Computing’s Michelle Simmons earlier this year.

“R&D is a key driver of new jobs, future businesses and international investment in NSW and will play a crucial role in our economic growth,” the state’s Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said.

“The NSW Government invests close to $400 million in R&D each year and this strategy puts in place a plan to better target funds to fast-track new technology and commercialisation for our people, the economy and our environment.”

The New South Wales 20-Year R&D Roadmap is a “blueprint” for targeting government R&D investment and signalling to private investors where the long-term support will be going. Launching Tuesday evening, it also outlines the strategic capabilities the state is seeking, like cybersecurity, and where disruptive technologies like automation can be best leveraged to support existing industries and create new ones.

Digital, materials and chemistry, biotechnology, and energy are the key themes identified in the report, with 39 applications within them also identified.

The 39 applications range from existing areas of strength in New South Wales like quantum computing and devices, medtech, fintech and smart materials to developing ones like AI, blockchain, vaccines and renewable energy generation and storage.

The Roadmap identifies why each application is strategically important, why it is considered a competitive advantage for New South Wales, and what opportunity it presents.

Individual action plans will be developed for all 39 applications and will outline specific steps to for development focusing on commercialisation and translation to enable future industries.

While not an exhaustive list of the state’s R&D capabilities, the government considers the identified areas and applications to be where New South Wales has “compelling aggregations of competitive advantages in science and technology”.

“To sustain and improve its economic, social, and environmental prosperity, NSW must leverage R&D in science and technology to accelerate the development and adoption of disruptive technologies across all industries and businesses in NSW,” the new Roadmap says.

The Roadmap takes a long, 20-year view of developing the areas of strength, some which are considered deep technologies, but will be updated periodically to account for local and global changes.

Developed through consultations over the last six months led by the state’s Chief Scientist and engineering professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, the 20-year roadmap was a recommendation from last year’s Accelerating R&D in NSW Action Plan.

“The Roadmap is the culmination of an extensive research and consultation process led by the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer over the past six months,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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