Brisbane’s innovative capabilities are grounded in a competitive business, world-class research and development, a highly skilled workforce, and leading education institutions. At the heart of Brisbane’s innovation is its human capital, the people with the skills, knowledge and entrepreneurial know-how to transform ideas into products and services that will benefit businesses and the community, not only in Australia but the world. Along with the talented people, the city boasts well-established infrastructure to support education, training, research and development activity, and a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors.

The Australian city’s innovation environment has global companies with headquarters in Brisbane, home-grown businesses that are export-oriented, and key knowledge precincts and research centres with global reputations. The city also boasts a range of service providers offering technical expertise and training to support various industries. Brisbane’s liveability and continued growth ensure the attraction and retention of talent and investment to the city.

The city is home to some very well-known universities including The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, and Griffith University. These institutions are an essential asset to Brisbane’s knowledge economy and form the foundation of the city’s research capabilities.

From research to commercialisation, Brisbane’s research and development (R&D) strengths are internationally recognised. The R&D ecosystem is categorised by strong collaboration between the public and private sectors, linkages with national and global research, R&D infrastructure, and support from industry and all levels of government.

As the commercial hub and driver of the Queensland economy, Brisbane, with its well-resourced and globally-connected research and development sector, leverages international investment to commercialise innovation in new life sciences/biotechnology, digital industries and clean technologies, serving a diversity of industries and markets, both in Australia and overseas.

The Digital Brisbane Strategy aims to kick-start a business revolution to ensure the city capitalises on the rapidly-growing digital economy, including the online market, valued at $US20 trillion, and future-proofs its living standards.

The strategy sets clear five-year targets, including doubling the number of Brisbane firms selling products and services online, a 35 per cent improvement in productivity growth achieved through digital technology, and support for 50 promising local digital start-up companies.

Specific initiatives of the strategy include:

  • A new Digital Business Power-up Program to help more than 4,000 businesses with face-to-face digital training and information forums and a further 30,000 people through web-based support tools per year.
  • Launch of the Coderdojo program in city libraries to encourage hundreds of young people to learn how to master digital coding.
  • Cyber City Program that is focused on a new “way-finder” system that integrates mobile digital technology with signs, maps and city venues, ready access to Wi-Fi services across the city, and continued improvements to connectivity, digital services, and data access across the city.

Life sciences/biotechnology  The Queensland life sciences industry employs more than 14,000 people, invests $650 million in research and development, and has an estimated combined income of $4.4 billion. Queensland has niche strengths in agriscience, bio commodities, and tropical health. Substantial investments are developing these strengths to help new industries and to foster innovation in traditional sectors, positioning Brisbane and Queensland as an international centre of excellence for science and technology. Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital campus brings together some of Queensland’s leading institutes such as the Translational Research Institute and the Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence.

Clean technology  Consistent with global trends, the most important growth in commercialised clean tech activities in Brisbane is related to the energy sector. There has been significant investment in renewable energy projects in recent years, and this is being encouraged and assisted by government policies to attract investment in the sector by local, national and international firms. Carbon capture and storage pilot projects, funded by both industry and government, are being undertaken. At the same time, Queensland’s strong growth in the energy and resources sector has resulted in increased demand for remote energy, waste and water treatment technologies.

Outside of the energy sector, there is a range of research activity and small innovative cleantech and bio-tech firms associated with the dynamic, mostly university-based research sector in Queensland. The destination has access to specialised knowledge and skilled workforce through premium research and development institutes at world-renowned local universities.