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A country of innovation

Australia is a land of trailblazers, with a rich culture of innovation and creativity.
We’ve created centres of excellence in crucial disciplines, as the best minds meet to tackle the challenges that face Australia and the world.

Our universities have made a major contribution to our status as one of the most innovative countries in the world. University spending on research and development has doubled in the past 18 years. And our skilled and diverse workforce means that our ideas and inventions can be put into production. 

With dynamic links between academia, industry and public services, Australia is laying the groundwork for future discoveries. 

World-class universities and research facilities

Australian universities are ranked third in the world, according to the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities, published by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. We have 7 institutes in the world’s top 100 and our graduates are world-leaders in ground-breaking research and development. 

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), our national science agency, is recognised internationally for its quality research and is Australia’s largest holder of patents. It works collaboratively across the nation, connecting industry to global supply chains.

Co-operative Research Centres (CRCs) also link industry with the research community, and help commercialise new technologies. There are research centres and collaborative programs for most industries, including advanced manufacturing, fintech and health.


CSIRO Data61 group
CSIRO Data61

Innovation precincts

We know that bringing the right people, knowledge and tools together is how innovation happens. That’s why we’re nurturing more than 100 innovation precincts and industry clusters across the country. Here are just a few examples:

  • The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, the home of Australia’s nuclear science and technology expertise and landmark national infrastructure, operates an Innovation Precinct in southern Sydney that connects scientists with industry, and gives business an opportunity to access outstanding facilities and expertise. 
  • Lot Fourteen, nestled in the heart of 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.
  • The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, just next to the CBD, is made up of over 40 hospitals, 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.

See the incredible concentration of innovation hubs across Australia with the interactive Innovation map produced by the CSIRO.

R&D Partnerships

Australia is investing heavily in research and development (R&D) with overall spending growing by 7% per year since 2001. R&D investment and partnerships have already delivered value for Australia, including:

  • world-firsts in 3D printing human body parts
  • patented coating technology and techniques used by US defence companies
  • robotics, automation and remote asset-management technologies for NASA’s Artemis program (next peopled mission to the moon).
CSIRO Data61 - Robot
CSIRO Data61

Australia is a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs. Australian innovations include: the electronic pacemaker (1926), the ‘black box’ flight recorder (1958), ultrasound (1961), multi-channel cochlear implants (1970s), wi-fi (1990s), the polymer banknote (1988), Google Maps (2003), a cervical cancer vaccine (2006), a cervical cancer vaccine (2006) and a leukaemia drug (2017). 

Austrade-BM-australia-innovation-credentials - see text description