Queensland State of Innovation Report 2021

The Queensland State of Innovation Report 2021 (PDF, 2.1KB) explores the impact of innovation on businesses, industry and knowledge economy performance.

The report also provides state and territory comparisons and identifies areas of improvements for Queensland innovation. Future reports will provide updates on innovation performance.

Findings of the report are summarised below, grouped into the themes of human capability, research and development, innovation environment, investment attraction and innovation output.

Further details, including information on the broader Queensland State of Innovation project are provided in the report.

A summary of the findings include:

Human capability

  • Human capability in the innovation system needs significant investment whereby all levels of government, industry, research and education institutions and businesses have a critical role in ensuring that Queensland has the medium and long-term capability to build on its strengths.
  • Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) enrolments for female and First Nations students have increased between 2011 and 2019.
  • Higher Education STEM course participation has stagnated. This is likely to have an impact on the domestic supply of STEM workforce in the medium term.
  • The number of knowledge workers in the state has doubled between 1998 to 2018. Compared with other states and territories for the proportion of knowledge workers in the labour force, Queensland ranks sixth.
  • Queensland has relied on international students for both University income stream and skilled migrants for the supply of a STEM workforce. Domestic STEM enrolment has stagnated between 2015 and 2019. COVID-19 restrictions and requirements has affected the supply of international and interstate STEM students and workforce.

Research and development

  • Queensland based universities have continued to maintain their competitive advantage in attracting research funding, education and knowledge creation.
  • The 2018-19 per capita expenditure on research and development (R&D) by the Queensland government was $121, which is equal to Victoria and higher than Western Australia ($93), New South Wales ($81) and the Australian Capital Territory ($80).
  • In 2019-20, the Queensland Government spent over $380 million on R&D, $30 million more than the previous year and 8 per cent more than the average expenditure over the previous five years.

Innovation environment

  • Queensland’s performance against metrics for innovation environment suggests that, overall, the state is performing in the middle and better in areas such as growing startups in knowledge intensive industries.
  • Queensland has a relatively high proportion of startups, and the highest proportion of startups in knowledge intensive industries in Australia.
  • The rate of business creation in Queensland is increasing, indicating positive business environment coming out of 2020. This is, however, lower than other jurisdictions.
  • Inadequate human capability and infrastructure are barriers to digital readiness and may hamper the pipeline of technology-oriented businesses to achieve high growth.
  • In 2020, Queensland was ranked 12.62 out of 25 in the CISCO Digital Readiness Index, behind all states and territories except South Australia and Northern Territory.

Investment attraction

  • There is a need for better facilitation and connections between investors and investees to enable a stronger venture capital sector in Queensland.
  • In 2020, Queensland attracted almost a quarter (USD$2.9 billion) of the total investment in Australia. Over half of all investors in Australia are located in New South Wales.

Innovation outputs

  • Knowledge intensive activities are key drivers of growth, future job creation and prosperity in Queensland’s economy. Knowledge intensive trade relies on industries which draw heavily on technology, science, innovation and human capital inputs.
  • The state has some export advantages in traditional industries that may provide opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs to drive growth.
  • In 2019-20, as a share of the nation’s total knowledge-intensive services exports, Queensland’s contribution was third highest (10.5 per cent), behind New South Wales (48.5 per cent) and Victoria (28 per cent).