Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Bridging the Divide between Academia and Industry


Credit: okalinichenko/Adobe

By Derek Richard

The Science Next Collaborative is helping early- and mid-career researchers to make the leap from research to commercialisation.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In 2015, life sciences company Sigma-Aldrich approached a number of Australian academics, including myself, with the broad question: “How do we better equip our early- and mid-career researchers with the skills and resources that will allow them to bring their innovations and technical expertise to industry?”

This was an interesting question, as Australia is a global academic leader. Our research publications account for 3% of the world’s output even though we only have 0.3% of its population.

However, we don’t shine when it comes to industry partnerships, patents and start-ups. For every US$100 million spent on biomedical research, the UK has nine times more start-up companies and four times more patents than Australia. This is a major problem, but no one has found a tangible solution.

So, one cold rainy Melbourne day earlier this year, some industry and academic leaders met under the banner of the “Science Next Collaborative” to ponder this critical question.

This was nothing new for academics. Different federal, state and university bodies had reviewed these questions before, highlighted the problems and made recommendations. These white papers and reports generally soon found a home on a shelf, gathering dust.

Did these white papers and reports highlight our inability to translate our knowledge into tangible outcomes? We know there...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.