Science + innovation = cool combo

Science isn’t all research and academia – commercially minded scientists are turning their inventions and discoveries into real-world products and successful businesses all the time.

That’s why science + innovation = a really great combination to consider for your study and career path.

When you think of science, you probably envision someone with crazy hair in a white lab coat, asking mind-bending questions about the nature of the universe (um, thanks movie stereotypes). And when you think “entrepreneur” or “startup”, you might picture: new apps and digital technology, rather than biology, physics and chemistry.

In reality, science is a hotbed of innovation, with the products of bright ideas and discoveries being commercialised by business-savvy scientists all the time. In fact, according to a 2016 report by the Office of the Chief Scientist, more than a quarter of Australia’s economy can be attributed to advances in science over the past 20 to 30 years.

And our big science institutions are all over this potential, offering ways to connect startups and small businesses with their facilities and research expertise – there’s nandin Innovation Centre at ANSTO, CSIRO Kick-Start and D.Start at Defence Science and Technology (DST).

“Australia has world-class research capability and the potential to lead in future industries like advanced manufacturing, hydrogen, space and quantum technologies,” says Dr Cathy Foley, CSIRO chief scientist and newly appointed as Australia’s chief scientist.

“We can also lead in new industries created by advances in science research in climate, biology and agriculture-related technologies.”

RELATED: The top 6 business skills you need to be successful in STEM

Innovation lingo 101

Entrepreneur: Someone who starts a new business, taking on risk in the hope of financial reward

Startup: A small, newly established business bringing a new, unique idea to the market

Spin-off: A startup created from another organisation, such as a university or research institute

Intellectual property (IP): Property that you own, which comes from your personal creativity and ideas, such as an invention

Incubators and accelerators: Organisations that help startups and innovators grow and expand to become successful

Science + innovation – start your career here

  • Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Business, Griffith University
  • Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science and Business, UNSW

Science + innovation jobs

Entrepreneur: Commercialise your idea or invention and start a biz. You could be earning an average salary of around $70K (in Australia) – but really, the sky’s the limit!

RELATED: Quiz: Are you a future entrepreneur?

This article originally appeared in Careers with STEM: Science 2021

Gemma Chilton

Author: Gemma Chilton

Gemma has a degree in journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney and spent a semester studying environmental journalism in Denmark. She has been writing about science and engineering for over a decade.

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