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Innovating to Globalise, Globalising to Innovate

22 Oct 2012

With the end of the mining boom fast approaching, Australia's future economic wellbeing will be determined by the nation's ability to commercialise innovative products, services and processes.

Innovation from concept to successful commercialisation can take 20 years or more and University of Sydney Business School researchers say the time to make the necessary political and commercial adjustments is now. They warn that the pathway to the global marketplace is more complex than commonly realised.

With the support of the healthcare firm Merck & Co. Inc., the Business School's Discipline of International Business has just completed three years of groundbreaking research into innovation and its pathway to global markets. 

The findings will be announced on Wednesday 24 October at a roundtable forum titled 'Innovating to Globalise, Globalising to Innovate'.

"Innovation and entrepreneurship are critical to growth in an economy characterised by a high standard of living, high wages and a highly educated workforce. The resources boom will not sustain Australia forever," says David Anstice, a former Merck Senior Executive and a driving force behind the study.

The results will reveal how Australian high-tech start-ups commercialise products with potentially global appeal.

"The study shows that everyone involved in innovation - from university scientists to company managers and financiers - needs to be actively engaged in global research and industry networks right throughout the pre-commercialisation process", says Mr Anstice. "In order to succeed in selling globally, innovations need to be globally connected even before they are market ready."

There is evidence to suggest that Australia's innovation system is comparatively weak when it comes to global connectedness. The results of the study will inform government of the policy settings needed to ensure the global competitiveness of Australian innovation.

"A lot of effort goes into making innovation successful," Mr Anstice said. "We backed this research because Australia needs a better understanding of how the links between research and commercialisation fit together."

Joining Mr Anstice at the roundtable discussion will be Professor Geoffrey Garrett, Dean of the University of Sydney Business School; Professor Sid Gray, Chair of the Discipline of International Business; Professor John Shine, the former executive director of the Garvan Institute and the Chairman of CSL; Michael Quinn, a managing partner of Innovation Capital, an Australian/US venture capital fund and Christopher Zinn, a journalist specialising in consumer issues.