Innovation Australia Chair
As Chair of Innovation Australia and on behalf of members of the Board and our predecessors, members of the Industry Research and Development Board, it is with enormous pride that I present to you 25 Years of Innovation in Australia – a snapshot of a quarter of a century's worth of achievement.
This publication features success stories representing the achievements of over 100,000 Australian businesses that have benefited from the Australian Government's innovation and investment programs over the last 25 years.
Their stories reflect the challenges and lessons discovered on their individual innovation journeys. These individual stories provide a snapshot of the benefits Australia and the world continues to reap from new products, processes and services firms have developed by working with government and embracing innovation and research and development.
Since the creation of Innovation Australia's predecessor, the Industry Research and Development Board, in 1986, successive Australian governments have supported Australian businesses in their pursuit of research and development and its commercialisation. They have recognised the increasing importance industry research and development plays in the future economic growth of Australia.
During the last 25 years the Industry Research and Development Board and now Innovation Australia and their expert Committees have considered many thousands of applications from Australian businesses seeking financial support to take their ideas to market.
The stories cover a wide range of innovations, from computer-based sleep diagnostic systems to intelligent transport systems and potentially life-saving pharmaceutical advancements. All have led to employment generation and economic growth.
They are a celebration of what has been achieved in the last 25 years and a foundation for what can be achieved into the future.
To Australia's entrepreneurs, researchers and investors of the future I commend this book to you and encourage you to pursue opportunities with the same determination.
People in partnership with government can make the difference.
David A. Miles AM
Chair, Innovation Australia
Innovation is about new ideas, new products and new ways of doing things. It drives productivity and economic growth.
For the past 25 years Innovation Australia, established in 2007, and its predecessor, the Industry Research and Development Board (IR&D Board), have helped administer Australian Government programs supporting innovation, research and development and venture capital.
These programs are delivered by AusIndustry, the specialist program delivery division within the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. AusIndustry also provides secretariat support to Innovation Australia.
The Board's members are leaders in their field and have a strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by Australian businesses. During the past 25 years they have considered thousands of applications from Australian businesses seeking help to turn their ideas for new products and processes into commercial successes. The Boards' decisions have made a real difference for many Australian businesses. And those businesses have made a tangible difference to Australia and the world.
25 Years of Innovation in Australia celebrates this history by profiling businesses that have benefited from Australian Government support, including one from each year since the IR&D Board was created in 1986. This is just a snapshot of the many thousands of businesses assisted.
The businesses featured in 25 Years of Innovation in Australia are diverse. They come from a range of sectors. Some are start-ups; others have grown to be large, multi-million dollar companies, with offices around the world. Some are based in our capital cities; others are helping create vibrant economies in regional areas.
What they all have in common is that they have grown and prospered with assistance from Australian Government investment in innovation or venture capital. Many of these businesses acknowledge they would not be where they are today without the assistance they received.
The Australian people are also benefiting from innovation in business. New therapeutic products are improving our health. Clean, green technologies are helping us tackle the challenges of climate change. Sustainable, strong businesses are creating employment.
This book is just a selection of successful Australian businesses – there are thousands of equally inspiring businesses that are quietly achieving significant, long-term successes.
Together they are helping make Australia the envy of the world as the results of the government's innovation policy take hold, leading to strong, sustainable businesses that will hold us in good stead as we move towards a cleaner, greener, richer and fairer future.
25 Years of Innovation in Australia is a celebration of innovation. Here are some of our success stories.
Cochlear treats deafness with innovative hearing technology
People with severe or total hearing loss cannot be helped with hearing aids, and this can have a profound effect on their lives. Congenitally deaf children, or children who lose their hearing before developing language can find it very difficult to develop normal language skills. And for adults and seniors too, losing hearing can have a significant, negative effect on their work, home and social lives.
Over the past 30 years, Cochlear has developed hearing products that have improved the lives of around 250,000 children and adults worldwide. Its hearing technology is sold in more than 100 countries, with sales last financial year totalling more than $800 million.
Cochlear's key products include the Nucleus 5 System for people with severe to profound hearing loss and the Baha 3 System, for individuals with conductive or mixed hearing loss.
The company also manufactures the Cochlear Hybrid System, which combines cochlear implant and hearing aid technology for people with profound high-frequency hearing loss and aidable low-frequency hearing.
A grant of around $910,000 awarded under the National Development Program in 1991 enabled Cochlear to evaluate a tinnitus suppression system. In 1993 Cochlear was awarded $54,000 under the National Teaching Company Scheme to develop new electrode material for its neural stimulators, to improve the connection between the implanted electrodes and hearing nerves. Cochlear was a recipient of several of Austrade's Export Market Development Grants. The company also claims deductions for its extensive research and development activities under the R&D Tax Concession, with around 13 per cent of its annual turnover being spent on R&D.
Cochlear has also benefited from other Australian Government innovation grants, such as Linkage Grants. Linkage Projects have included research toward improved appreciation of music for Cochlear implant recipients and training for improved recognition of the tones in tonal languages.
In addition to these grants, a major contributor to Cochlear's research and prototype evaluation over the past 20 years has been its participation in the Australian Government's Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program. This initiative brought together researchers from Cochlear, the University of Melbourne, hearing-loss researcher Australian Hearing, hearing aid manufacturer Siemens and many end-user organisations.
"Being involved in this program has helped us test many novel ideas," says Jim Patrick, Chief Scientist. "We were able to engage with other members of the CRC to improve the benefits our implants provide to our recipients, both to help our recipients and to maintain Cochlear's global competitive advantage."
Note: There may be links contained within this document which will transfer you from the AusIndustry website. AusIndustry does not have responsibility for these external websites nor does linking constitute any form of endorsement.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF files. To access functionality in PDF 'smart forms', including some application forms you will need at least Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.1 or above. You can download a free copy from the Adobe web site.
If you have any problems accessing an attached file, please contact the AusIndustry Hotline on 13 28 46 or email@example.com.