The contribution to Australia’s economy by maths and science – nearly $300 billion annually including flow-on benefits – has been measured for the first time.
Fairfax and others report that the study, The Importance of Advanced Physical and Mathematical Sciences to the Australian Economy, was commissioned by Chief Scientist Ian Chubb and the Australian Academy of Sciences.
It was carried out by the Centre For International Economics analysis and considered maths, physics, chemistry and the earth sciences
"It is too easy to take the benefits of science and innovation for granted, and this report shows that the knowledge from these disciplines supports and enhances economic activity which benefits all Australians," said Chubb of the report..
The West Australian notes that the report found the direct contribution to GDP by these disciplines was $145 billion a year. They also generated over 760,000 jobs.
When considering the flow-on impact, the contribution was $292 billion a year, or 22 per cent of GDP.
According to the report’s authors, the figures were conservative estimates.
The oil and gas sector was among the biggest winners from scientific know-how, seeing 50 per cent of gross value add created through this.
The report linked new knowledge to economic growth, noting that without it, “any of the other factors driving economic growth will eventually encounter diminishing returns, and growth will slow.
"A future without continued scientific development would involve lower economic growth simply because the proportion of growth that would otherwise come from growth in knowledge would be reduced."