New chair of Innovation Australia appointed

Today sees Bill Ferris, a pioneering Australian venture capitalist, begin a chairmanship of Innovation Australia.

AAP reports that Ferris founded the country’s first venture capital firm and has previously served as chairman of Austrade and the Garvan Institute. He is currently executive chairman of CHAMP Private Equity.

“Bill has been a key adviser as we develop the Innovation and Science Agenda, and will continue to be so as we work to implement it,” said industry minister Chris Pyne in a statement. The government is expected to release its innovation agenda next month.

The three-year term came at “a rare and exciting moment” for innovation and science in Australia, Ferris said.

“I relish the opportunity as chair of Innovation Australia to assist in identifying what changes are necessary for meaningful improvement in commercialisation and how to best get on with it right away,” he added.

Elsewhere, the new Ferris said the country was currently well-regarded in fields such as medical research, but not at bringing technology to market. He also offered that a “fear of failure” was something that needed to be overcome by some in the innovation ecosystem.