Perrottet sharpens NSW focus on research translation


James Riley
Editorial Director

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is preparing a restructure to give better and more targeted support for industry growth in priority areas, including advanced manufacturing, entrepreneur driven research translation.

Mr Perrottet used the 2021 Bradfield Oration to unveil plans for a Department of Enterprise and Investment to help drive research-led growth, and for the appointment a NSW state Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology.

The new Science, Innovation and Technology minister would “channel our home-grown research into economic opportunities for the future,” he said.

Research-led recovery? NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet

Mr Perrottet also said he would soon appoint a Commissioner for Modern Manufacturing, to focus on fostering the relationship between research at the state’s top universities, and the advanced manufacturing sector.

He said every economic powerhouse around the world has a strong manufacturing base, and that NSW cannot just be a service economy. “We have to keep making things,” he said.

“The Commissioner’s role will be to identify local research and ideas that we can turn into manufacturing opportunities – and ultimately, jobs for our people,” Mr Perrottet said.

“This work will be supported by a taskforce headed by [Australian business leader and former economic adviser to Tony Abbott] Tony Shepherd,” he said.

“Opportunities in advanced manufacturing are driven by research. And research is one of our state’s hidden superpowers.

“NSW is home to some of the world’s leading universities and research institutes. But too frequently we see our homegrown ideas falter or flee elsewhere for lack of local support.”

The Perrottet policy transition, which will include a substantial cabinet reshuffle in the coming days, has leaned heavily on the thinking contained in an Action Plan for Accelerating R&D in NSW, which was steered by parliamentary secretary Gabrielle Upton and NSW chief scientist and engineer Hugh Durrant-Whyte.

That report was released in February this year and focused on boosting R&D in NSW and and translating it into technology, products and services, and jobs.

“When I asked our universities for examples of research that can create economic opportunity and investment – I was inundated with ideas,” the Premier said.

“From quantum tech to BioTech, sensors to semiconductors – we have the ideas, the talent and the resources to excel. And with precincts like Tech Central and the Bradfield Aerotropolis we have the right infrastructure and eco-systems to grow.

“But I want to do even more to cement Sydney’s reputation as the smart city down under, Mr Perrottet said.

“What you will see from our government is a much better collaboration with the universities than ever before. I want our universities to flourish because when uni’s flourish, ideas flourish – and our society flourishes too.”

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