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Six key things needed to boost Aussie innovation: Report

Friday, 9 November 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

A new Federal Government-commissioned report has outlined six key initiatives to drive Australian innovation, including improving the way commercial agreements are negotiated and helping businesses better engage with researchers.

 

The report, titled Collaborations between the Public and Private Sectors: the Role of Intellectual Property, was presented to Mark Dreyfus, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation.

 

Dreyfus said while Australia has world-class public research, greater collaboration with the private sector is needed to transfer this knowledge into new technologies, products and services.

 

“Greater collaboration can benefit business and assist them to become more competitive by tapping into the reservoir of knowledge that… research organisations and universities offer,” Dreyfus said in a statement.

 

The government asked the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property to conduct a review of collaborations between business, universities and other publicly-funded research organisations.

 

The report identifies important factors that affect the formation and operation of collaborations, and includes recommendations on how these can be improved.

 

Specifically, it looks at the role of intellectual property and how it acts as an enabler or disabler.

 

The report comes after the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act was passed earlier this year. This act is designed to offer entrepreneurs greater IP protection.

 

Here’s a summary of the report’s six key recommendations:

 

1. Develop mechanisms to increase the motivation of publicly-funded research organisations (PFROs), especially universities and medical research institutes and PFRO researchers, to engage in collaborations with industry.

 

2. Encourage the development and promotion of educational resources to assist PFROs, industry and researchers to form and conduct collaborations.

 

Resources should be easily identifiable and accessible to all stakeholders, particularly PFROs and SMEs, and be supported by relevant training.

 

3. Improve the ability of SMEs and PFROs to form and conduct collaborations with one another.

 

4. In order to improve their collaborations with industry, PFROs need to increase their project management skills and capability.

 

5. Request that the Coordination Committee on Innovation (CCI) promote and encourage the use of flexible terms and conditions in Australian Government grants and research contracts, including those specifically related to background and project IP licences, warranties, indemnities and moral rights.

 

6. Ensure the National Principles for Intellectual Property Management for Publicly Funded Research (currently being reviewed by CCI):

  • Covers all publicly-funded research conducted by PFROs; and
  • Encourages PFROs to introduce continual improvement to, and implementation of, internal policies and procedures for IP management.