ISA gets new name, members and industry focus


Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

Innovation and Science Australia has been “refocused and refreshed”, with a new name, several new members and a focus on overseeing the federal government’s $1.5 billion manufacturing strategy.

The rebranded Industry Innovation and Science Australia (IISA) has also been significantly expanded with five new members, each with an expertise in one of the government’s chosen areas of focus for its Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

IISA will play an advisory role for the strategy, revealed in this month’s federal budget, and will guide the development of roadmaps for each of the six key sectors it is focusing on.

The new members of the IISA board include Myriota co-founder Dr Alex Grant, AgThentic partner Sarah Nolet, DuluxGroup boss Patrick Houlihan, Woodside Energy’s Lauren Stafford and King & Wood Mallesons partner Scott Farrell, who led the government’s review into open banking and is leading the current inquiry into the future directions for the Consumer Data Right.

Karen Andrews: New appointments and marching orders for ISA board

They join IISA chair Andrew Stevens, deputy chair Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel and the other existing members of the independent statutory body.

Mr Houlihan and Ms Stafford have been appointed for a three year term, while the other three new appointees will serve for two years.

Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the name change “reflects government focus on making science and technology work for industry”.

“As a government we are getting the economic conditions right and backing our manufacturers to become more competitive, more resilient and to scale-up – but it is industry that will chart the course of our recovery and make this strategy stick for generations to come,” Ms Andrews said.

“We know it is industry, not governments, that create jobs, so it’s essential that we have people from industry in these key advisory roles. These appointments will ensure the board has the necessary skills, expertise and connections to the Australian business community to reshape and reignite Australian manufacturing – as well as delivering advice more broadly on how to innovate.”

Innovation and Science Australia was established as part of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s National Innovation and Science Agenda in late 2015, and was originally chaired by the Prime Minister.

It has delivered a number of innovation-focused reports to government, most significantly the Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation report in late 2017.

It also plays an important role in the administration of the research and development tax incentive in conjunction with the Australian Taxation Office.

The Modern Manufacturing Strategy handed a key advisory role to IISA for the spending of the $1.5 billion allocated over four years. The agency will advise on the industry-specific roadmaps and also assist with investment decisions.

It will be outlining a shared vision for manufacturing in each of the selected sectors, along with identified opportunities and barriers, potential for exporting and key performance indicators. The development cycle for these roadmaps will be decided in the first half of next year.

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