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Working paper quantifies Australia's returns to innovation

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.

CSIRO’s latest working 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.

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.

CSIRO's latest working 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.

Moreover, the returns are expected to be even higher when the broader societal and environmental benefits are incorporated and are 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.

Download the working paper

This working paper was developed in close consultation with government and academic stakeholders.

CSIRO has quantified the relationship between

  • domestic gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) and
  • GDP per capita growth to estimate the return on investment (ROI) to innovation for Australia.

The most conservative estimates state that:

  • $1 of R&D investment in Australia
  • creates an average of $3.5 in economy-wide benefits in today's dollars and a 10% average annual return.
Australia's returns to innovation

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