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About D61+ Expert Connect
Innovation is a key driver of business competitiveness, economic growth, and ultimately improved living standards. According to estimates by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as much as 50 per cent of long-term economic growth in its member countries can be attributed to innovation, and this contribution is expected to grow (Department of Industry, 2016).
Research and development is a key driver of innovative activity, however the costs associated with R&D infrastructure are beyond the reach of many small businesses. For this reason it is important for Australian businesses to have access to pre-existing R&D generated through public funding and to the expertise behind it. Indeed, collaboration with research organisations including Australian universities and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has been shown to increase the likelihood of reported annual productivity growth within a business by more than three times.
However, according to the 2016 Australian Innovation System Report produced by the Department of Industry, Australian businesses continue to report a lack of access to skilled personnel as a barrier to innovation. Data supports this sentiment and suggests that Australia’s innovation ecosystem (particularly in the areas of business to research and business to business collaboration) is weakly networked.
Data61’s ‘Expert Connect’ has been created in response to this major divide in Australia’s innovation ecosystem, to help support the activity of existing innovation facilitators and to unlock the knowledge contained within Australia’s premier research institutions for the benefit of the Australian public. Additionally, the benefits of the platform have been designed to be shared as widely as possibly, with open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allowing for the integration and further development of the underlying data.
Developed in just 17 weeks and released on the 28th of June 2017, this Beta version provides a glimpse into the potential of the tool, which will grow as the data sources which feed it expand and as the platform evolves to meet a wider range of user needs.