REPORTS: Economic contribution of advances in science

More than a quarter of Australia’s economy can be attributed to advances in science over the past 20 to 30 years. That’s an annual contribution of $330 billion to our national prosperity. And it’s just one measure of the phenomenal impact of the sciences on the way we live and work.

These findings are reported in two new reports commissioned by the Office of the Chief Scientist from the Australian Academy of Science, with analysis provided by the Centre for International Economics.

The first report, The Importance of Advanced Biological Sciences to the Australian Economy, investigates recent advances in the biological sciences. Without those advances, the burden of disease would be 18 to 34 per cent higher, and Australians would miss out on health improvements valued at up to $156 billion a year.

The second report, The Importance of Advanced Physical, Mathematical and Biological Sciences to the Australian Economy, combines the impact of the biological sciences with previous research on the impact of physical and mathematical sciences.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb AC, said the reports underscore the importance of science to all Australians.

“Of course the benefits of science are difficult to measure. Of course those benefits can only be partially counted in dollars and cents. But of course we have to investigate them, in economic as well as human terms, because we cannot afford to ever take them for granted.

“We have, for the first time, a credible estimate of a phenomenon that defines our lives and underpins our prospects for growth. I trust it will inform our discussions about the actions we take to maximise the benefits of science for Australians.”

A one-page summary of the findings of each report, as well as the full reports, can be downloaded using the links below. A media release on the launch of the two reports is also available.

The Importance of Advanced Physical, Mathematical and Biological Sciences to the Australian Economy – summary.pdf

The Importance of Advanced Physical, Mathematical and Biological Sciences to the Australian Economy – full report.pdf

The Importance of Advanced Biological Sciences to the Australian Economy – summary.pdf

The Importance of Advanced Biological Sciences to the Australian Economy – full report.pdf