Innovation in Australia

Australia is an innovative country. Tap into our innovation ecosystem to bring your ideas to market.

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The ideal environment to innovate

In Australia you will find an established culture of innovation. More than half of Australian businesses are innovation active (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Innovation in Australian Businesses, 2020-21).

Australia is home to some of the greatest inventions in history. From Google Maps to bionic ears, and Wi-Fi to pacemakers, much of the technology relied on by millions of people today were discovered or designed by Australians.

Not only do we generate ideas, but we also protect them through our robust intellectual property (IP) standards. We rank equal first in the world for IP commercialisation (Source: US Chamber of Commerce, International IP Index, 2023).

We are also home to some of the world’s top cities for entrepreneurial success with Sydney ranking fourth and Melbourne ranking fifth (Source: Oberlo, 2023). Our cities provide support to help you develop, finance, and grow your business.

Embracing new technologies

Australia is a nation of early adopters with a future-focussed government. In global rankings:

Innovation Map

World-class experts, universities and research facilities

Australia is home to world-leading experts in emerging technologies and research. Our universities are some of the world’s best and are a resource for innovative businesses.

  • The 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities places six Australian universities in the top 100 – fourth highest in the world (Source: Shanghai Ranking Consultancy). And our rankings are consistently improving. In 2004, just 14 Australian universities appeared in the top 500, while in 2022, 24 Australian universities made the grade.
  • Our scientific research is highly ranked internationally across multiple fields. Australian research publications achieve an impact that is at least 20% higher than the global average in 20 out of 22 academic disciplines. Australia’s six strongest categories of published research are computer science, space science, multidisciplinary research, physics, clinical medicine, and molecular biology and genetics (Source:  InCites™, Clarivate Analytics, 2022).
  • Australia ranks 11th globally for publishing high-quality scientific research (Source: Nature Index 2023).
  • On a per capita basis, Australia ranks fourth globally for the number of scientific and technical journal articles published (Source: INSEAD, The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2022).
  • Australia’s national science agency CSIRO ranks 15th among the top research centres in the world (Source: Ranking Web of Research Centres, 2019).

Australia’s universities are a vast resource of research and innovation for businesses, with established pathways to support research commercialisation between academic, industry and community partners.

Access to innovation infrastructure

Australia offers the modern infrastructure your business needs to succeed.

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit (Source: Technological Readiness Ranking, 2018) ranked Australia as equal first most attractive place in the world for companies to invest when considering how well prepared countries are for technological change. This is based on our internet access, digital economy infrastructure and openness to innovation.
  • Australia ranks third globally for 5G connections, which is transforming our business landscape (Source: Deloitte Access Economics Mobile Nation 2022: 5G Unleashed).

Aussie inventors

Australia offers pathways proven to help entrepreneurs and academics connect. This enables Australia to pioneer world-class technologies in sectors including agriculture, education, financial services, and health.

Australia’s historic success stories include the electronic pacemaker (1926), the ‘black box’ flight recorder (1958), ultrasound (1961), multi-channel cochlear implants (the 1970s), Wi-Fi (the 1990s), the polymer banknote (1988), Google Maps (2003), the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil (2006) and leukaemia drug venetoclax (2017). Today’s pioneering innovations include immersive simulation in education; robotics in medical procedures; and the Internet of Things in agriculture. Australia is also recognised as a world leader in silicon-based quantum computing research.

Clever collaborators

The Australian Government funds programs to support connections between academic researchers and industry. Our research infrastructure includes:

Support for research, development and commercialisation can be accessed through bodies including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the National Health and Medical Research CouncilAgricultural Innovation Australia which links together the 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations, the Global Science and Technology Diplomacy Fund and regional innovation hubs. The Australian Government is also establishing the A$15 billion National Reconstruction Fund financing vehicle with A$1 billion targeted at supporting critical technologies.

Innovation precincts

Australia has more than 100 innovation precincts and industry clusters. Australia has the equal ninth highest number of science and technology innovation clusters in the global top 100 (Source: WIPO Global Innovation Index 2022).

Some examples include:

  • The Sydney Startup Hub is a globally significant innovation centre, supporting a strong entrepreneurial community where startups and SMEs thrive.
  • The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) operates an Innovation Precinct in southern Sydney. This connects scientists with industry and gives businesses the opportunity to access outstanding facilities and expertise. ANSTO also operates the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne, one example of the world-class large-scale R&D infrastructure available to innovators.
  • The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct is made up of over 40 hospitals and research, teaching, and biotechnology organisations. The precinct delivers outstanding patient care, produces cutting-edge research and discoveries, and trains some of the country’s brightest minds.
  • LaunchVic, Victoria’s startup agency, brings together a network of entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and universities.
  • Lot Fourteen in Adelaide is accelerating innovation and making a global impact by bringing together entrepreneurs, global companies, universities, and research organisations from across Australia and the world. It is already home to the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat CRC, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s big data Living Lab and the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre.
  • Adelaide is also home to the Tonsley Innovation District, 10km south of the city. It is home to leading-edge research and education institutions, established businesses and start-ups. Its focus is on cleantech and renewable energy, health, medical devices and assistive technologies, mining and energy services, automation, software and simulation.
  • The Precinct, located in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, brings together Queensland start-ups, incubators, investors and mentors under one roof. The Precinct is one of Queensland’s largest innovation hubs.
  • WA Data Science Innovation Hub ensures WA remains at the forefront of the digital revolution by increasing the uptake, education, training and awareness of data science.
  • The Darwin Innovation Hub connects the brightest minds in the Northern Territory through its startup and business growth ecosystem. The Hub is also home to multiple funding initiatives including a co-investment network.