The Australian Academy of Science wants to bring science and industry together to guide digital transformation.

The academy has released a major new plan, Preparing for Australia’s Digital Future, which calls for action on promoting closer partnerships between industry and the research sector.

This could ensure Australia is well placed to realise and capitalise on opportunities in digital technology in coming years.

“Digital transformations are continuously and rapidly evolving, driven by aggressive technology progress and accelerating uptake – and Australia is not driving,” says Professor Glenn Wightwick, co-chair of the steering committee that drew up the plan.

“It is essential that, through strategic actions outlined in this plan, we are able to chart our own course.”

Australian success stories in digital technology include Atlassian, Technology One, Vitalcare, VPI Photonics and Aconex – but research investment in digital technology is only a tiny fraction of its potential contribution to Australia’s future prosperity.

“Numerous success stories demonstrate our ability to turn excellent science and research into commercial technologies and services that benefit Australia,” said Professor Rod Tucker, academy fellow and co-chair.

“Yet to realise our potential, we need a plan to help Australians recognise, act on and derive as much benefit as possible from opportunities in our digital research and innovation sectors.”

Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Chairman of NBN Co and Chancellor of RMIT University, joined Professors Wightwick and Tucker in speaking at the launch of the report on Wednesday morning.

“Everywhere we look we see evidence of digital transformations that are shaping Australian society and our economy and which will change this country in the decades ahead,” he said.

“In this timely report on digital innovation from the learned academies, we now have an overarching strategic plan that will help Australians act on and derive as much benefit as possible from opportunities in our digital research and innovation sectors.

“I’m confident this plan can position Australia as a successful, forward-thinking digital nation – one with an enhanced ability to translate our public and private sector ICT research into skills, innovation, public benefit, careers and jobs, and commercial success.”