Govt packs innovation and science panel with industry heavyweights


news The government has strengthened the lineup of the new Innovation and Science Australia Board, adding a number of heavyweight members with a proven track record across science and industry.

The new look panel was unveiled yesterday by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne.

“The Turnbull Government has, after a thorough process, appointed some of the best minds in innovation and science in Australia today. The talent on this new board represents innovators and entrepreneurs with a proven record of success,” said the government in a statement.

The appointment of new board members will add commercial and research expertise across a number of industries, such as agriculture, biotechnology and software, it added.

The new board members (and one reappointment) are listed as follows:

  • 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)

Venture capitalist Bill Ferris AC, who is co-chairman of CHAMP Private Equity, has already been appointed as Chair of the panel.

Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) is a new statutory board which will be tasked with placing innovation and science at the centre of government policy making.

The government has said it plans to introduce legislation to establish the ISA from 1 July this year.

The board is aimed to build effective business and community stakeholder links to monitor the performance of Australia’s innovation system and develop a long-term 15 year plan.

The ISA will further publish research and advice to promote public discussion of innovation issues, and will push for reforms on key issues such as investment in innovation; delivering and operating research infrastructure; how to better plan and make use of Australia’s investment in research and development.

The ISA will play a “key role” in helping deliver the government’s $1.1bn National Innovation and Science Agenda, the statement said, adding that the new board will have broader functions than its predecessor, Innovation Australia.

The new remit will include advising the government on “strategic innovation and science priorities and investment”.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. Yes, scrap science as a discipline, roll it in with ‘innovation’ and peg it to commercial outcomes. Now there’s no more wasted resources on non-monetisable research, no more wishy washy ‘fundamental science’ nonsense – every science project and scrap of funding will be geared towards realising commercial outcomes.

    Which, if you look at it, means there is absolutely nothing ‘innovative’ about this body at all – true innovation necessarily requires scope to explore and create new ideas, concepts and directions that have not been tried before. What we have here is ‘application’ – where the goal is the commercial realisation of scientific avenues that other people have already developed. This means Australia will never be able to come in at the ground floor, we have to hop on sometime later. Because the ground floor is fundamental research, fundamental science. Like they’re doing with the largest, most expensive project in the world, the LHC, a project with zero commercialisation opportunities at face value, but one that is changing our understanding of the universe and will have a fundamental impact on science and humanity forever.

    Just one more reason why unimaginative conservatives are a guaranteed way to ruin our future.

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