The Australian parliament

Business School innovation experts advise governments globally

Three academics from the Business School recently reported the findings of a year long project back to the Australian government. Professor Gordon Murray and his colleagues Professor Marc Cowling and Dr Weixi Liu were invited to undertake an analysis of the Australian Innovation Investment Fund (IIF).

They were specifically requested to look into the strengths of the programme, the achievements of the programme, to make a comparison with similar international programmes, what progress had been made towards achieving the stated programme objectives and highlight any issues which should be considered in future iterations of the programme.

Commenting on the work Professor Murray said: “Having assisted many governments in both setting up similar schemes and assessing their efficacy, I was delighted to be involved in this project. Our results indicated that the programme was well focused and has provided material and relevant support to a significant number of early-stage enterprises from Australia’s science base. However, these supported firms were also more likely to fail than comparator firms, in part because the programme focused on genuinely early-stage and therefore risky firms. The programme has also raised substantial finance for young and new knowledge-based firms that would not have been available in the absence of this scheme. Nevertheless, the highly challenging environment for early-stage venture capital investment across the developed world cannot be underestimated.”

Professor Murray has also recently completed a study into the ‘Finnish Paradox’ which has been presented to senior government officials and policy makers in Finland. He has tried to unravel why Finland, despite being a world leader in per capita investment in research and development, has a weak international performance in creating high‐growth entrepreneurial enterprises and lags behind all of its Nordic peers.

His conclusions indicate that, as an innovator, Finland has been a world class exemplar. But without a significant increase in the supply of high growth entrepreneurial firms to continue to turn such innovations into globally attractive goods and services, and the necessary radical policy commitment to effect this change, Finland’s world ranking is likely to continue to decline.

Date: 1 July 2011

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