Victorian Government Provides Support for Innovation




Episode Loading...




PharmaTelevision requires Javascript enabled and Adobe Flash Player to watch our programmes. If you do not have Flash installed, you can download it for free from the Adobe Flash homepage.

Improve your Internet experience and start watching exciting new video content.

Video title: Victorian Government Provides Support for Innovation
Released on: November 27, 2008. © PharmaVentures Ltd
Share/save this page:
Email
Bookmark
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Follow us:
RSS
Twitter
  • Summary
  • Transcript
  • Participants
  • Company
The role government can play in providing innovators with support through development to commercialisation is discussed in this special interview with Gavin Jennings, the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Innovation in the Victorian Government. He talks of the many policies in place in Victoria which help to encourage businesses to not only locate themselves there but also to collaborate with existing Victorian companies. The recently announced AU$ 41 million Innovation fund created by his administration to help harness research opportunities and to create momentum in the region is one of the examples he highlights of how the government helps innovation in Victoria.
Role of government in promoting innovation.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to pharmaventures business review here in Melbourne Australia. On this show I have the minister for environment climate change and innovation at the Victorian Government .
Gavin Jennings:
Thanks very much.
Fintan Walton:
We are here at AusBiotech in Melbourne and AusBiotech obviously is one of the key conferences that takes place here in Australia every year and clearly biotechnology is the key area of innovation and certainly Melbourne has an international reputation for innovation but for you a minister who has the portfolio under innovation so what the key question really is what role can government give to promoting innovation?
Gavin Jennings:
It's a very good question because many people think should government be in the business of getting in the way of research and development? should government be in the way of the commercialization of the results for that research and our answer is yes we should be involved and we see that in a variety of ways but certainly supporting the great intellectual capital that we have so we got the great knowledge base that we have coming through our medical research institutes of which Melbourne we are very rightly be proud of them. So we have a great tradition of great skills. We also actually see the very important need to providing key pieces of infrastructure to sort of a physical capabilities that what I mean by that is things like the synchrotron which is the most obviously the most famous but also providing making sure we have other places of essential place of infrastructure that can carry out the detailed fine grain work the leading edge technology that make sure that we can apply those and give rise to all researchers spreading their wings and breaking new grounds . So we see that so the human capability the physical capability and then of course the building on those collaborative till the way in which collaborations occur. So we have provided support to the sector to build collaborations here and around the world and so if we can find any way of trying to make those relationships work give meaning to them this way we think that there is a positive involving the government.
Bridging gap between innovation and the commercial world.
Fintan Walton:
Right and clearly innovation is taking things out of the- we need the invention we need that key innovation but it is the commercialization route which is often the thorny route that most biotechnology companies have to face so clearly as you said you've built the infrastructure and Melbourne and Victorian Government has you know done an incredible amount in that ensuring that that basic research is going on but how can you build the bridge that takes that innovation from those structures that you talked about in to the real commercial world?
Gavin Jennings:
Well again it's a very interesting question it seems what the role for government is and what otherwise would be the relationship between the researcher and the commercial world in terms of raising capital, giving commercial results. We actually see that they from the starting point to see that they have public policy benefits in terms of meaning the product lines and the results of these research that will actually deal with many of the human conditions that they have got with community confronting so we actually think that there is lot of value in terms of whether they will be the health or the sustainability side dealing with issues of human development so there is there is reason for government to be interested but beyond that we actually see that there is very tangible, there are really tangible things that we can do for example today we released a manual to deal with intellectual property to try to provide advice to the field about the way in which researchers can actually see what is available to them in terms of the types of IT IP that's available, what the prices that they go through, the way in which they can build a fine work and a knowledge that protects their own the integrity of their work but creates then the doorway into the commercialization of their acts as well.
Fintan Walton:
But isn't one of the concerns that people had is that that IP will eventually end up outside the country?
Gavin Jennings:
Well in many cases it does. I mean the thing about the thing about global economies global communities is that you can't be too pre equipped but what we trying to do is to trying to make sure that we have the maximum value adding that takes place here whether they be through the going as far through the clinical trial processes we can to actually see where how our markets might be developing opportunity, new market based opportunities in fact there are many pharmaceutical companies that virtually made around the world that say the Australian market is a good place because of its size to sure up it's the commercial viability, so we are actually hoping that there is there is a two way street and in fact obviously we are trying to build companies of the caliber of CSL and support them which general (indiscernable)(indiscernable) companies and if they can operate here in Australia then we think that ultimately we will have a critical mass of engagement in commercial opportunities happening here.
Innovation fund and its operations.
Fintan Walton:
Right and last week I think on 23 of October you announced an innovation fund 41 $million innovation fund. Want to tell us about that fund and how that's gonna operate.
Gavin Jennings:
Well it follows in our in Victoria we have had a number of funding rounds that are there to provide support to the science community to take their work further. $41 millions last week will hopefully harness great research capabilities, see collaborations occurring. People will leverage of from our funding with other source of funding medical research funding that's available and we actually think that we can achieve great results out of this funding round in the past we've had during our (indiscernable)government more than $600 million that we have allocated in previous rounds and we have actually seen somewhere in the order of a $3.9 billion worth of activity that had actually come through this. So the leverage is quite extraordinary and we actually say that the important role that hands of the government can plant the seed to actually give life to great results.
Fintan Walton:
So the $41 million is used at what level? Seed level or is it beyond seed level?
Gavin Jennings:
Well.
Fintan Walton:
And does it act like a venture fund?
Gavin Jennings:
Well in fact hopefully it will feed into venture fund. So we don't actually see necessarily as a venture fund per say but we actually say that it creates the momentum that you we can assume critical mass and venture capital will actually follow.
Fintan Walton:
So the fund actually works what in terms of grant money or is it in the form of equity?
Gavin Jennings:
I think in form of grant money.
Fintan Walton:
Right.
Gavin Jennings:
So in terms of but we actually hope that there will be a growth that actually comes from there which will accumulate
Fintan Walton:
Right.
Gavin Jennings:
The equity within organizations that will actually come together. New collaborations form through the last rounds that didn't exist before that then will lead to greater commercial opportunities.
Fintan Walton:
So it's non dilutive?
Gavin Jennings:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
Grant funding which to some venture capitalists will be fantastic.
Gavin Jennings:
Well it will certainly make a significant difference in the past as a say actually say the leverage we have actually seen because quite again relating to the public policy question arise was government in this? Well government is in this because in fact there can be good social outcomes, good economic development for the state in terms of the two way street the commercial way they've tried but also in terms of what the leverage that we perceive shows that there is a great return to our economy you know many many follow over in terms of what our contribution is funded like that.
Interfacing with federal government and its policies and the Terry Cutler report.
Fintan Walton:
Right and you know clearly you are responsible for the state of Victoria this the federal government as well and how does that work for you? How do you interface with the federal government and its policies particularly at an innovation level and the terry cutler report?
Gavin Jennings:
Well there is a work in progress. We actually hope we hope that there is a great leverage greater degree of leverage that occurs between state of Victoria and the commonwealth in the east to come in as we have seen in the past. We have already being able through the investments and the capability you know foundation that's also to level 4. We have seen about 40% of the nation's medical research funding coming into Victoria so that's not necessarily that's through in actually en masse. So that funding comes into Victoria following through our great institutions and in accordance with the momentum that we have created. We don't take that for granted.
Fintan Walton:
Yeah.
Gavin Jennings:
What we actually see with the commonwealth review is that we think that there will be hopefully a greater alignment between the direct investments programs, the involvement of the CSIRO, their support for the university sector and we would think that if they get all of those elements in alignment with the commonwealth level will be able to leverage even greater results from our investments and our strategies that we have in Victoria and we can actually say that we are investing basically in concert with one another.
Fintan Walton:
And are you going to use the CUTLER report for your own processing?
Gavin Jennings:
Well well again in terms of being a work in progress we spent a lot of time talking to terry and in the preparation talking to Kim Carr in the preparation of his report to making sure that the issues that we are very concerned about in terms of skill development, in terms of actually support for the treasury sector in terms of trying to get alignments of investment strategies. So we almost by design made sure that we are involved in that review. By the time that it settles and lands in the commonwealth finally determines where its responding to the review we would think that there is hope the great potential for great alignment between where they are at and where we are at.
Fintan Walton:
And does that mean it has to compliment what you are trying to do? Rather you what you don't want to do is duplicate what the commonwealth is doing?
Gavin Jennings:
Absolutely essentially we don't duplicate I mean so from ourselves from in our case we try to hold on to our innovation strategy this year to try get the appropriate alignment so we held back for a few months to try to make sure that we were harmonized as possible but we actually wanted to move with some of our investment strategies whether it be through the fund that you are talking about or whether it be the super computer capability between the life sciences we are running to build here so we in a sense had to get up, we had to get up the sheer but ultimately from next year onward you would actually hope that there will be a great alignment between the two governments position.
Fintan Walton:
Okay well Gavin Jennings thank you very much for coming on the show and telling us all about here what the government is doing.
Gavin Jennings:
Terrific thank you very much.
Gavin Jennings
Minister of the Environment, Climate Change and Innovation
Gavin Jennings is the Victorian Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Innovation, as well as Deputy Leader in the Legislative Council. He has a key role in both spearheading the Brumby Government's approach to tackling the threat of climate change and to drive technological and scientific advances in Victoria. Elected to the Legislative Council in September 1999, Mr Gavin Jennings became Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in 2002 and in 2006 was appointed Minister for Community Services and retained the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio. Before entering Parliament Gavin Jennings had a wide and varied work history, including experience as a Factory Worker, Actuarial Clerk, Actor, Social Worker and Policy Analyst. From 1981 to 1984 Gavin Jennings worked as a social worker at the Aboriginal Health Service in Fitzroy, between 1988 and 1992 he was a Ministerial Advisor to Kay Setches, John Cain and Joan Kirner and from 1994 to 1999 he worked as an Industrial Officer for the PublicTransport Union, Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, and the Electrical Trades Union Gavin Jennings gained a BA from Monash University in 1978 and a Bachelor of Social Work from Melbourne University in 1981.
Victorian Government
The Government of Victoria, under the Constitution of Australia, ceded certain legislative and judicial powers to the Commonwealth, but retained complete independence in all other areas. The Victorian Constitution says: "the Legislature of Victoria has full power and authority." In practice, however, the independence of the Australian states has been greatly eroded by the increasing financial domination of the Commonwealth. Victoria is governed according to the principles of the Westminster system. Legislative power rests with the Parliament of Victoria, which consists of the Crown, represented by the Governor of Victoria, and the two Houses, the Victorian Legislative Council and the Victorian Legislative Assembly. Executive power rests formally with the Executive Council, which consists of the Governor and senior ministers. In practice executive power is exercised by the Premier of Victoria and the Cabinet, who are appointed by the Governor, but who hold office by virtue of their ability to command the support of a majority of members of the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council, or Upper House, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia. The other is the Legislative Assembly. Both sit in Parliament House in Melbourne. It serves as a house of review, in a similar fashion to its federal counterpart, the Australian Senate. Although it is possible for legislation to be first introduced in the Council, most bills receive their first hearing in the Legislative Assembly.