Science boosts Australian economy by $145 billion a year

ADVANCED physical and mathematical sciences directly contribute about $145 billion a year to the Australian economy, or about 11% of GDP, according to a report released today.

When the flow-on impacts of these sciences are included, the economic benefit expands to about $292 billion a year, or 22% of the nation's economic activity.

The Office of the Chief Scientist and the Australian Academy of Science commissioned the report, while the Centre for International Economics (CIE) completed the research.

Australia's Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb says it is too easy to take the benefits of science and innovation for granted.

"For the first time we now have the numbers on the table showing the importance of these sciences to the Australian economy," Prof Chubb said.

Australian Academy of Science President Professor Andrew Holmes said the report would improve public awareness of the economic contributions of Australian science.

"The detailed report carefully maps out the pathways by which advanced physical and mathematical sciences yield economic results," Prof Holmes said.

The figures in the report are conservative and only include the economic benefits of discoveries and innovations implemented in the past 20 years in physics, chemistry, earth sciences and the mathematical sciences.

The report includes examples of how these sciences benefit the economy, such as advanced mathematics supporting the effectiveness of mobile phones and wireless internet, and sets out a selection of breakthroughs that have had an economic impact.

The report, available at the Australian Academy of Science website, did not examine the economic benefits of biology and life sciences.


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