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Enabling technologies and sciences

Our emerging technologies and sciences are powering real world, breakthrough solutions.

Whether it's in biosciences, createch, digitech, materials science, nanotechnologies or any of the other many areas that support our future-focused sectors, Australia is on the leading edge. Our innovators have access to some of the world’s best laboratories, research facilities, professional networks and government support including through organisations like CSIRO and the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

$70b
In grants and incentives

Australia offers nearly A$70 billion in grants, incentives and funding pools to Australian-based companies across priority sectors.

Source: Accenture

Surgeon using technology

Biosciences

Australia is a global hub for bioscience researchers, manufacturers and investors. The biosciences ecosystem supports better outcomes for life on Earth and complements our long-standing expertise in health and life sciences and agrifood

Australia has enviable credentials in bioscience. The cochlear implant, an Australian invention, is one of the earliest examples of improving wellbeing through digital technology.

Check out the new patent box for Australian medical and bioscience technologies. Companies will pay a concessional corporate tax rate of 17% on income from Australian medical and biotech patents.

Our advancements in biological innovation drive products and services like vaccines, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, agricultural cultivation, genomics, and wearables. During COVID-19, Australia has been recognised globally for our rapid adoption of telehealth and other digital healthcare tools to ensure ongoing support for all patients.

  • ASX listed companies represent a market capitalisation of about A$179 billion
  • The bioscience sector employs more than 240,000 people 
  • The industry represents 55% of the life sciences sector.

Source: Australia's Life Sciences Sector Snapshot 2019 [/call out]

Many leading biotechnology companies have set up in Australia, including Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences and Sonic Healthcare. The industry body is Ausbiotech.

CSL is Australia’s leading biotech multinational based in Melbourne. It is manufacturing approximately 50 million doses of the Astra Zeneca–Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, also plays a major role in our biosciences sector. With R&D spanning precision health, genetics, disease control, plant and animal sciences, bio systems and diagnostics, CSIRO is one of the world's largest mission-driven multidisciplinary science and research organisations. Its facilities also include:

In 2020, Australian Genomics received a A$5 million grant through the Medical Research Future Fund to expand its research network to deliver ultra-rapid testing to more than 240 critically ill children over 3 years. 

Synthetic biology

Synthetic biology is also on the rise in Australia. Bringing together universities, start-ups, large businesses, government and industry bodies, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology is pioneering new solutions to global agricultural, food production, manufacturing, healthcare and environmental challenges. CSIRO has deep capacity, especially through its Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform. The CSIRO BioFoundry is a state-of the art facility providing bioengineering capability to the R&D community.

Incentives and government support

  • MTPConnect, part of the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative, champions the growth of Australia’s medtech, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. It delivers a number of initiatives of the Medical Research Future Fund, including:
  • The Genomics Health Futures Mission will invest A$500 million over 10 years in genomic research. It will improve testing and diagnosis for many diseases, help personalise treatment options to better target and improve health outcomes, and reduce unnecessary interventions and health costs.
  • The Department of Industry has details about Partnering with Australia on innovation, science and research, focusing on strategies to bring government, businesses and researchers together and grow our capabilities.
  • ANDHealth is a national digital health initiative established by a consortium of commercial and government partners to facilitate and support the development and commercialisation of clinically validated digital health technologies across Australia.

Case studies

Createch

Australia’s createch sector is thriving. 

Australia is a creative nation. Recent research shows that creative and cultural industries together contribute A$115 billion to GDP every year. And according to the Creative Skills for the Future Economy report, around 9.5% of Australian employees are formally qualified in creative industries.

Whether it’s using virtual reality to teach science, or visual design to improve robots, the possibilities are endless. Australia shines when technology and creativity connect. The collision of ideas, skills, perspectives and collabs foster new ways of thinking and working across the economy.

There are research and business opportunities galore.

Here’s just some of what’s going on:

  • ARM Hub has visual designers sitting alongside technical specialists to make robotics and design-led manufacturing to transform industry.
  • UAP (Urban Art Projects) collaborates with artists, architects, designers and developers to bring creativity to the public realm and expert resources to creativity. 
  • Animal Logic is one of the world’s leading independent creative digital studios, producing award winning design, visual effects and animation.
  • Rising Sun Pictures is a world-class visual effects company creating memorable screen moments. 
  • BondiLabs works with government and industry to solve problems in food processing, biosecurity and logistics using AR, AI and IoT.
  • Opaque Media designs, builds and deploys cutting edge-software, including VR and AR, to help organisations of all types and sizes solve problems.
  • The Studio is a leading incubator, community, and co-working space for entrepreneurs, business, and industry professionals working in createch. 
  • Sandpit creates and designs interactive experiences for cultural spaces using anything from architecture to projections.
  • The QUT Design Lab is a community of designers, engineers, roboticists, creative thinkers, makers, artists, health practitioners and innovators all working to transform ideas into tangible design artifacts, images, spaces, interactions and processes. 

Creative Technology Australia brings together a range of technologies to enhance entertainment, sport, broadcast and exhibitions.

 

Materials science

Australia has a bright future in collaborating, co-designing and co-creating innovations in materials science, precision engineering and advanced manufacturing. The Australian Academy of Science has a National Committee for Materials Science and Engineering, bringing together scientists, engineers and institutions, as well as serving as a link between local and international material scientists. The Australian Materials Research Society is an umbrella body that connects to the materials science and engineering research communities. 

RMIT University has partnered with Europe’s leading 3D printing institute, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS, to focus on using advanced 3D printing to manufacture and repair high value-added products. RMIT’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing is one of the top facilities for additive manufacturing in the world according to Christoph Leyens, Director of Fraunhofer IWS.

CSIRO has vast expertise in materials research, from early development to testing, scaling up and designing manufacturing processes. CSIRO’s facilities include the Lab22 Innovation Centre for Additive Manufacturing, FloWorks Centre for Industrial Flow Chemistry, the Biomedical Materials Translational Facility and the joint Swinburne CSIRO Industry 4.0 Testlab in Composite Additive Manufacturing.

Computational metallurgy

Australia’s burgeoning manufacturing, energy, renewables and resources, and infrastructure sectors are supported by a growing network of connected devices. Automation is a critical part of this success, supported by a quantitative understanding of the development, lifecycle and serviceability of its tools.

Computational metallurgy applies computational science to metallic material systems. Applications include additive manufacturing, surface hardening, corrosion, surface characterisation and hardfacing, to create products that reduce wear, resist external impact and extend the life of metals.
CSIRO’s Lab22 Innovation Centre is one of Australia's leading centres for metallic additive manufacturing, with broad expertise and capability including computational metallurgy. It develops innovative materials and additive manufacturing techniques for the space, defence and medical Industries. Its partners include NASA JPL, Boeing and Chevron Corporation.

Case studies

  • Advanced Material Solutions in South Australia has developed a super-strong titanium membrane. It’s the only one of its kind, is unaffected by salt or chemicals including chlorine, and can be adjusted to screen out specific materials down to 0.05 microns.
  • CSIRO worked with Melbourne manufacturer Amaero Engineering to explore the use of conformal cooling in 3D printed die cast tooling, using computational modelling. They developed an innovative solution using clever simulations.

Nanotechnologies

The A$150 million Sydney Nanoscience Hub is a world-class centre for nanoscale research and education. It houses labs, core nanofabrication and characterisation facilities, and is jointly funded by the Commonwealth Education Infrastructure Fund and the University of Sydney. 

The University of Queensland hosts the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. An integrated multi-disciplinary research institute bringing together the skills of world-class researchers, its work includes precision nanomedicine and agriculture nanotechnology.

Case studies

  • CSIRO’s cutting-edge nano coatings include silicon-based mesoporous coating and microspheres coating. Its state of the art facilities produce thin film materials unique in Australia, and its technology has been adopted by the Royal Australian Mint and the Australian Institute of Sport. 
  • At UQ, nanotechnology is being used to improve the performance of sugarcane waste when it is turned into bio-based single-use packaging materials. Adding a small amount of nanofibres to sugarcane pulp leads to a significant improvement to its mechanical properties as well as increasing the shelf-life of food due to the high oxygen and moisture barrier properties.
     
Cliff Obrecht, Canva COO and Co-founder
The Aussie tech scene is thriving. We’ve seen this growth firsthand. We started out as a team of just a few sitting around a single conference table. Today, we’ve grown to a team of more than 2,000 people from all over the world.

We know that talent is one of the most critical aspects of building a global company. You’re nothing without a great team around you. We’re fortunate to have been able to attract some of the best and brightest minds from leading companies all over the world. Bringing in this talent and perspective has played a huge role in sharing knowledge across the whole tech sector – it’s how we’ll continue to grow and solve even harder challenges.

Australia has quietly made a name for itself as a country of innovators. It was Aussie ingenuity that cooked up inventions including WiFi, the hearing aid and the pacemaker. To remain competitive and keep producing world-changing innovations, we need to continue attracting talent from every corner of the globe.

I have a sense that we’re just getting started. Australia is undoubtedly a great place to live, and it’s also a great place to start and scale a company.
Cliff Obrecht, Co-founder and COO,
Canva

Digitech

Australia is a trail-blazer in digitech, and we’re continuing our pioneering path. We’ve developed autonomous robots, artificial intelligence, remote sensors and neural networks.

We value innovators who think differently, and whose ingenuity is reshaping existing industries and kickstarting new ones.

Our modern digital economy is driving Australia's future prosperity. We are investing an additional A$1.2 billion in our digitech future through the Digital Economy Strategy

Read more about our strengths and opportunities in digitech, including AI, blockchain and digital ledger technologies, quantum technologies, robotics

Recent arrivals

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