Immigration and innovation
Skilled migration provides an opportunity to boost innovation, which is a key driver of economic productivity growth. Policy makers around the world are aware of this opportunity and have adopted policies to attract skill migrants. However, despite the strong relevance and high topicality of these issues, scholarship about the role played by skilled immigrants in boosting the host country economy is very thin. Two new research grants – the first is an SNIS Grant with Gaetan de Rassenfosse and Gabriele Pellegrino from EPFL; and the second is a CNRS Grant with Ernest Miguelez from the University of Bordeaux – attempt to address this issue.
The Science of Science and Innovation Policy and STAR METRICS
In recent years, there has been a strong push towards making investments in the science contingent on the evidence base. This has proved problematic, since little data exists to conduct rigorous, systematic analysis of scientific investments. However, this has changed in the last few years, partly in response to the US Government’s creation of STAR METRICS. As yet, Australia has not made any moves in the nascent field. How we spend our nation’s annual $10 billion investment in scientific research (across universities, CSIRO, etc) is incredibly important for our future health and prosperity. Hence we need to develop a more ‘scientific’ approach to the way in which we develop science policy.
Markets for Technology
Inventions are by definition complex and unique. It is thus easy to see why potential buyers and sellers of technologies may never work together. Since commercial information is generally kept secret, it is not straightforward for inventors to find out the needs or requirements of businesses. That is, sellers are blind to the potential buyers’ needs, and buyers are blind to the seller’s invention. As a result of these factors, any matching mechanism or market, that brings together buyers and sellers is likely to be highly sophisticated and complicated.
At present, little is known about existing markets for the ‘Markets to Technology’ service in Australia. This project aims to document the main mechanisms that link owners of an invention with businesses interested in developing the invention; describe the characteristics of these markets; and analyse the major problems and costs associated with these markets.
Innovation and Productivity
There is much concern amongst politicians, senior bureaucrats and academics over the recent slowdown in Australia’s productivity growth. The concern is that the sizeable productivity gains achieved during the 1990s have now been exhausted, and that other potential sources of productivity growth are being overlooked. Furthermore, there is a growing realisation that innovation is an important – if not the main – source of continued productivity growth.
As former Chairman of the Productivity Commission, Gary Banks stated upon the release of their Annual Report in 2008: “The challenges confronting Australia lend urgency to policy efforts to raise national productivity, and pursuing the right approach to innovation is key to achieving this.” The motivation for this project is that without better evidence-based policy evaluation, we don’t know what the right approach to innovation is.