Venture capitalists and digital executives dominate the make-up of the board of Innovation and Science Australia, a revamped cross-government advisory.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull named six new board members and one re-appointee:
- Dr Alan Finkel AO, Chief Scientist (Deputy Chair)
- Maile Carnegie, CEO Google Australia and New Zealand
- Scott Farquhar, Co-founder and CEO Atlassian
- Daniel Petre AO, Partner AirTree Ventures
- Paul Bassat, Co-founder Square Peg Capital and Co-founder SEEK
- Dr Chris Roberts, Non-Executive Director ResMed
- Dr Michele Allan, Chancellor Charles Sturt University (reappointed)
“The talent on this new board represents innovators and entrepreneurs with a proven record of success,” Turnbull said.
“[The board] has got a number of leading businessmen and women on it and the reason for that is that it is vital that we work closely with industry and academia and business and venture capital to ensure that we get the right inspiration, the right stimulation for investment.”
ISA was formerly known as Innovation Australia but with its new name comes broader responsibilities “including advising the government on strategic innovation and science priorities and investment.”
It is “tasked with placing innovation and science at the centre of government policy making” and is expected to “play a key role in helping deliver the Turnbull Government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda”, which was unveiled last year.
Innovation minister Christopher Pyne said the ISA board make-up is “quite different to the previous board members because we want to have a focus on the way of creating jobs and growth through the innovation part of our economy.”
Google’s Maile Carnegie – who will soon take on a new role as head of digital at ANZ – said she was honoured to join the ISA board.
“For me [what] I found most exciting [about ISA] was two things,” she said.
“One is when I actually spoke to the government, the speed at which they are starting to make these changes and, therefore, the commitment and seriousness they are taking this issue or opportunity was extraordinary to me.
“But the other one is when you look at not just the expenditure and the speed but also some of the other choices they are making, they are very clearly looking to line up where they think we need to make the biggest changes.
“For example, we have talked about the fact we need better collaboration between business and things like academia. If I look at the makeup of this board, the board is structured to try and enable those things.
“So there is a lot of choices the government is making which are really exciting for me and exciting to be a part of. I'm looking forward to it.”
Since unveiling its National Innovation and Science Agenda in November last year, the government has set about switching on new programs and capabilities to fulfil the agenda’s aims.
It has funded two programs that aim to equip young children with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.
It is also consulting to lock down the eligibility criteria for companies that can apply for a new range of R&D tax breaks.