Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) will be a new independent body responsible for strategic whole of government advice on all science, research and innovation matters.

ISA will complement the Commonwealth Science Council which will continue to advise the government on high level science challenges facing Australia.

ISA will be chaired by Mr Bill Ferris AC, with Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, as deputy chair.

What is it?

ISA will establish strong and extensive business and community stakeholder links to audit the performance of the innovation system and develop a long term 15 year plan. ISA will publish its research and advice to promote public discussion, and will publicly advocate reforms on key issues such as:

  • innovation investment
  • innovation, collaboration and skills
  • delivering and operating research infrastructure
  • how to better plan and use Australia’s investment in research and development.

When is it happening?

Legislation was introduced into Parliament on 4 May 2016 to establish the ISA.  The legislation can be viewed on the Australian Parliament House website.

Innovation and Science Australia

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.

ISA will play a key role in helping deliver the Turnbull Government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, which is supporting the transition of the Australian economy.

The new board will have broader functions than its predecessor, Innovation Australia, including advising the Government on strategic innovation and science priorities and investment.

The appointment of leading figures from the innovation and science sectors will add deep commercial and research expertise across areas as diverse as agriculture, biotechnology and software. The new board members and one reappointment are:

  • Dr Alan Finkel AO, Chief Scientist (Deputy Chair)
  • Ms Maile Carnegie, Incoming Group Executive Digital Banking at ANZ Bank)
  • Mr Scott Farquhar, Co-founder and CEO Atlassian
  • Mr Daniel Petre AO, Partner AirTree Ventures
  • Mr 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)
  • Mr Bill Ferris AC has already been appointed as Chair of ISA.


What to do

Mr Bill Ferris AC

Mr Bill Ferris

Mr Ferris is the Chair of Innovation Australia, and will be the Chair of Innovation and Science Australia. He is a highly respected veteran of venture capital and private equity in Australasia. His experience will continue to bring the higher education and business sectors together to drive the commercialisation of breakthrough innovation.

Dr Alan Simon Finkel AO

Dr Alan Simon Kinkel

Dr Finkel is Australia’s Chief Scientist. He is a prominent engineer, respected neuroscientist, successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is uniquely qualified to act as one of the Government’s key advisers on science and innovation, and on ways to translate our great scientific research into real, tangible outcomes for Australians and the economy.



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