Strong returns on R&D investment

A working paper released has found that for every dollar invested in Australia, there is a $3.5 return on investment and a 10 per cent average annual return. Developed in close consultation with government and academic stakeholders, the working paper argues that investment in innovation is a key driver of Australia’s economic growth and prosperity.

Innovation also cultivates new ways of thinking, promotes technological development and helps us solve the biggest challenges facing society.

However, despite these benefits, attracting investment in innovation in Australia remains a challenge. The latest ABS figures show that business expenditure on R&D is half the OECD average and the lowest it has been since 2003, while government expenditure is the lowest since 2005.

Writing in The Conversation, CSIRO researchers write:”Many Australians know research and development drives economic growth and improves our well-being and prosperity. However, few could describe the size of the relationship between Australia’s research and development spending and economic growth, or compare this to performance on other typical investment returns.”

“Examples of future industries that could be unlocked by research and development in Australia include the quantum technology and hydrogen industries. Examples of emerging technologies that could change the way Australians work and live include artificial intelligence and robotics.”

CSIRO’s paper, ‘Quantifying Australia’s returns to innovation’, finds that for every dollar invested in Australia, there is a $3.5 return on investment and a 10 per cent average annual return.

Returns are expected to be even higher when the broader societal and environmental benefits are incorporated. Returns are also shown to be higher than typical returns from private investment.

Quantifying the return on this investment is key to demonstrating how investment in innovation drives economic growth and to attracting continued investment in innovation moving forward.

Read more and download the white paper

Feature image courtesy of CSIRO.