8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update (Newsletter), Jun 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/06/2005   
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The first meeting of the National Officials Group on Biotechnology Statistics was convened in Canberra on 11 March 2005. This group was established as a sub-group of the Biotechnology Liaison Committee in recognition of the high priority need to collect nationally consistent data on biotechnology that is internationally comparable. Attendees included representatives from the Federal departments of Education Science and Training (DEST); Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR); Health and Ageing; and Environment and Heritage, and from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Biotechnology Australia and a number of State government agencies.

The focus of this Group will be to:

  • provide a coordinated national approach to data collection for biotechnology between Federal, State and Territory governments;
  • share information on data collection activities and identification of issues;
  • explore ways to ensure efficient sharing of resources in national data collection.

As an initial step, the Group is currently developing an Information Development Plan for Biotechnology which will include:
  • a policy needs framework;
  • identification of the data required to meet policy needs;
  • description of the operating environment for biotechnology;
  • assessment of the existing sources of information;
  • identification of gaps in information and data;
  • prioritisation of data collection activities; and
  • assignment of responsibilities for collection activity or sourcing of data.
As an initial step to providing statistical information about biotechnology the ABS is measuring biotechnology R&D activity in the business sector. This one-off collection of data has been undertaken by the inclusion of additional questions in the 2003-04 Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Businesses. Biotechnology has been defined in accordance with the OECD definition and comments received when testing this definition and consulting with users.

The results will be included in the publication
Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia 2003-04 (ABS cat. no. 8104.0) which is scheduled for release in September 2005.