CSIRO identifies opportunities for economic recovery

CSIRO Head Office

Thursday, 17 September, 2020

CSIRO identifies opportunities for economic recovery

A new report from the CSIRO has revealed the opportunities for key industries to leverage science and technology and help restore economic growth and resilience. ‘COVID-19: Recovery and resilience’ highlights the trends and national advantages COVID-19 has created, and how six Australian industries can capitalise on them over the next 6–24 months and beyond.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said science and technology create economic growth and opportunity for all Australians.

“At this pivotal time in our history, the inclination is to batten down the hatches and postpone investments, when actually we need to double down on Australian innovation, because science and technology can drive our recovery from this pandemic-led recession and land us back in a much stronger position,” he said. “COVID-19 has disrupted every element of our lives and, while the devastating loss of life can’t be understated, we have an opportunity to determine the new kind of Australia we want to emerge from this crisis.

“Just as science and technology have been guiding our health and emergency response, so too will they drive our economic response and recovery from this pandemic.”

The report highlights job creation and investment opportunities for the following sectors:

  • Agriculture and food
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Mineral resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Digital

CSIRO Futures Lead Economist Dr Katherine Wynn said that, by acting now, Australian industries could increase productivity and cost efficiencies as well as create additional revenue from products, services and markets over the next few years.

“Energy-efficient technologies is one immediate way to reduce energy costs, emissions and demand on the grid while creating local jobs, and we see many opportunities for increased productivity, such as energy-efficient appliances in buildings and electric vehicles in transport that use mature technologies that are readily adoptable today,” she said.

“The health sector has always been an essential part of Australia’s economy and its importance has understandably been further emphasised during the pandemic,” she added. “Over the next 6–24 months, the sector has opportunities for quality-of-care improvements and cost savings through sector-wide digital health integration.

“We also see the potential for more efficient healthcare delivery through point-of-care diagnostics supported by bioinformatics and high-performance computing.”

On manufacturing she said, “The manufacturing sector could maximise its local manufacturing capabilities, creating jobs and adding value to Australia’s growth sectors, particularly in pharmaceuticals, food and beverage manufacturing, and mineral resource processing, as well as in space and defence.”

Longer term opportunities are also identified as Australia starts to take steps towards building a resilient and futureproof economy from 2022 and beyond. For example, Australia has huge opportunities to meet growing global energy demand and influence how this demand is met, including through low-emission energy sources and creating the world’s first clean hydrogen energy export industry.

The report consolidates key findings from CSIRO’s industry roadmaps and the Australian National Outlook to provide a timely update on a path towards a brighter future for Australia.

The report is available here.

Image: CSIRO’s metal membrane to produce pure hydrogen.

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