Science is the key to our manufacturing future

| April 15, 2024

The Australian Academy of Science has welcomed the Prime Minister’s intention to legislate a “Future Made in Australia Act” to boost technologically advanced manufacturing in this country.

President of the Australian Academy of Science Professor Chennupati Jagadish said, “A future made in Australia is heavily dependent on the breadth and depth of Australian science.”

Science underpins innovation and industry, but over the past two decades, we have seen incoherence in research and development (R&D) policy and investment in Australia, he added.

Today, we still have not identified our science capability gaps, let alone planned to address them to meet our national ambitions.

“There is a fundamental link between science and economic development, but this cannot be realised with a science system that is not fit for purpose and relies on decades-old settings,” Professor Jagadish said.

Internationally, Australia is well behind the pack in utilising science to secure sovereign capability and make our economy more resilient to shocks.

In contrast, the US is boosting science investment through the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act.

China is trying to achieve scientific self-sufficiency. Similarly, Japan, countries in the EU, and the Republic of Korea are boosting their investment in science and diversifying their economies.

“We cannot have successful industrial policy without a productive, innovative and sustainable science system,” Professor Jagadish said.

“We need a strategic roadmap and a decade of commitment to boost government investment in R&D and stimulate expenditure by other sectors, which is critical for Australian productivity and industrial capability.”