News & Analysis

Malcolm Turnbull names new Innovation and Science Australia Board

- March 15, 2016 2 MIN READ

Co-chairman of CHAMP Equity Bill Ferris has been appointed as chair of the new Innovation and Science Australia Board revealed today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne.

According to a statement, the board has been given the task of putting innovation and science at the centre of the government’s policy making and advising the government on “strategic innovation and science priorities and investment.”

Given broader functions than its predecessor Innovation Australia, Turnbull said the board will play a “key role” in helping to roll out the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Joining Ferris on the board are Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, as deputy chair; Maile Carnegie, currently CEO of Google Australia and New Zealand and soon to be Group Executive, Digital Banking at ANZ; cofounder and co-CEO of Atlassian Scott Farquhar, Daniel Petre, partner at AirTree Ventures; Paul Bassat, cofounder of Seek and of Square Peg Capital, Dr Chris Roberts, non-executive director of ResMed.

Dr Michele Allan, chancellor of Charles Sturt University, rounds out the board with her reappointment.

Turnbull said the appointment of these members will “add deep commercial and research expertise across areas as diverse as agriculture, biotechnology and software.” It is unfortunate that more women weren’t seen to have the necessary expertise to be appointed.

The announcement of the board was made by Turnbull and Pyne at a press conference in Canberra earlier this afternoon, with Turnbull also announcing that legislation relating to tax offsets for investments in early-stage startups would be introduced to Parliament this week.

However, journalists were not interested in asking the Prime Minister’s questions in relation to the board, the offsets, or the wider innovation agenda, in fact. The gathered press was instead concerned with questions around the timing of the next Federal Election and other issues.

Despite the recent launch of the Government’s $28 million advertising campaign focusing on the ideas boom and the emphasis that Turnbull has placed on the role of innovation in boosting Australia’s economy, the mainstream press – and mainstream population – seems to remain mostly disconnected.

Through our PoliTech video series with politicians and industry representatives, Startup Daily has seen concerns raised about what innovation means in Australia, the role it can play, and just how well the media, Australians, and politicians themselves understand it. Entrepreneurs starving for funding have argued that the $28 million would have been better spent on investment initiatives for startups, but the need to educate Australia seems to be there.

Image: Maile Carnegie. Source: Business Insider.