What has the program achieved?  

In nine years of operation, the Adelaide Thinkers in Residence program has had outstanding success It has delivered positive changes in South Australia in a rapid timeframe. Since 2003 the program has resulted in more than $300 million of investment in programs and infrastructure, both in South Australia and across the nation. The Federal Government has provided a significant proportion of this investment. 

New structures and organisations have been created, including:

  • Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) - $15m funding from the Federal Government.
  • Bioscience Incubator, Thebarton - $12.9m investment from the South Australian Government
  • Common Ground - 600 residential units nationally at total of $155m
  • Australian Centre for Social Innovation - $6m invested

Major policy advances and new ways of doing things in health, water, sustainability, renewable energy and innovation have occurred, and new university courses continue to create positive change into the future. There are less tangible benefits too. The residencies work across tiers of government, actively building cross-government and integrated decision-making capacity.  

The overall effect of the program on South Australia has been transformational. 

A snapshot of significant outcomes

Goran Roos: Advanced Manufacturing

  • It is now clearly understood that manufacturing is pivotal to our economic future, as evidenced in the State's master plan for the Tonsley Park redevelopment
  • A manufacturing taskforce has been established in South Australia, and the State Government has also developed a manufacturing Green Paper
  • Recent Machinery of Government changes have seen the establishment of the Department of Manufacturing, Industry, Trade, Resources and Energy

Fred Hansen: Transit-Oriented Development

  • Recent Machinery of Government changes have seen the establishment of the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the Urban Renewal Authority
  • The South Australian Government has abolished stamp duty on eligible apartments in the 2012-13 State Budget to encourage higher density inner-city living as part of its key priority to create a vibrant city
  • Transit corridors for buses have been created on Grenfell Street that run between 7am and 7pm every day    

Fred Wegman: Road Safety

  • Professor Wegman's recommendations have largely informed South Australia's road safety strategy, Towards Zero Together.
  • The speed limit on 52 rural roads within 100 kms of Adelaide and on the Yorke Peninsula has been reduced from 110 km/h to 100 km/h.
  • A new, broader set of performance indicators has been developed to monitor the progress of the road safety strategy
  • 5 star ANCAP safety rating for passenger vehicles and 4 stars for light commercial vehicles have been mandated in the State Government fleet
  • The State Government is reviewing speed offences and penalties to better reflect the road safety risk
  • $5m of funding has been secured over the next five years for the continuation of the University of Adelaide's Centre for Automotive Safety Research program.

Fraser Mustard: Early Childhood

  • The Australian Government has committed $16.9m over four years to roll out the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) in all Australian schools. The index is now implemented across SA to measure progress in children’s development by gathering data at a community level.
  • An early childhood leadership post-graduate qualification has been launched by the University of South Australia, the Gowrie Centre and government agencies.
  • The University of South Australia has developed an online course “Brain Development in the Early Years”, attracting 17 students 2009 and 64 in 2010.  

Rosanne Haggerty: Homelessness

  • Common Ground Adelaide was established to provide market standard affordable rental housing in mixed community settings, to low income people and those at risk of homelessness. Housing is provided in parallel with personal support to create pathways to independent and fulfilling lives for tenants. 
    Three Common Ground Adelaide sites are underway or complete in Franklin Street, Light Square and Port Augusta.  These projects have created 131 residential units across all three sites.  The Adelaide locations cost $15.7m to buy and redevelop, with an additional $800,000 donated for the fit-out.

    In March 2008 Therese Rein, wife of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, accepted the role as the Patron of Common Ground Australia. Three other states have adopted the methodology, and it is anticipated a total of 600 residential units nationally will be created through a national investment of over $155m.

Laura Lee: Design 

  • The Government of South Australia has committed to establish an Integrated Design Commission to ensure better quality built form in South Australia.
  • The Integrated Design Strategy for the City of Adelaide received $1m from the Federal Government’s Local Government Reform Fund in 2010.

Susan Greenfield: Neuroscience

  • Susan Greenfield’s residency led to a $12m investment into the Royal Institution of Australia (RI Aus), launched in October 2009. An additional $15m funding was received in 2009 from the federal Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
  • Since 2005 the Maurice De Rohan SpiRit of Science scholarships (named after the late Maurice de Rohan, South Australia's former Agent General in London) have provided the opportunity for 50 students from low socio-economic backgrounds to travel to London to attend the Royal Institution of Great Britain's renowned Christmas Lectures and to develop their passion for science in a unique learning environment. $355,370 has been invested in these students, and approximately $35,500 has been received as additional in kind support from the corporate sector.

Maire Smith: Bio-Innovation

  • Dr Maire Smith’s residency in 2004 led to the launch of Australia’s first dedicated bioscience incubator. The $12.9m BioSA Incubator was opened for business in June 2008 to fast-track the growth of local companies. 
  • Bio Innovation SA established $35m biotechnology venture capital fund (Terra Rossa Capital) for early stage companies in SA

Ilona Kickbusch: Health Promotion

  • Health in All Policies - a government-wide system to improve the health of South Australians - has been implemented. Health in All Policies embeds health as a central concern for all policy making and casts a ‘health lens’ over targets in South Australia’s Strategic Plan.  

    Our Health in All Policies process is now receiving international attention as an exemplary model for cross-sector work in tackling the challenges of population health in the 21st century.

Stephen Schneider: Sustainability

  • Professor Schneider contributed to the development of the Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Bill 2006 and ‘Tackling Climate Change: South Australia’s Greenhouse Strategy 2007-2020’
  • Land Management Corporation (LMC) launched a new policy on innovation and sustainability in 2008, affecting all LMC developments. LMC now include climate change adaptation, impacts of climate Change and climate change risk as key considerations.  

Herbert Girardet: Sustainability

  • The Green City project generated $2.5 million spread over 44 projects. 
  • The Building Tune Ups Project was instigated.  Ten commercial office buildings in Adelaide are realising savings of $341,955 from energy bills and $27,790 from water bills each year.  The project has achieved annual reductions of 2,883 tonnes of CO2 and a reduction in water consumption of 27,160kL annually.
  • The introduction of Feed in Laws allowing owners of solar panels to sell electricity back to the grid
  • Tripling of the `One Million Trees' campaign.  The program now has a target of three million trees to be planted throughout Adelaide by 2014. All metropolitan local councils, 12 State Government agencies and over 100 schools have been involved in the program to date.  
  • Compulsory plumbed rainwater tanks in new dwellings built after July 2006, and all new homes and extensions in South Australia need to achieve a 5-star level of energy efficiency.

Letter from former Premier Rann - renewable energy production, achieveing national target nine years ahead of schedule

Geoff Mulgan: Social Innovation

  • Geoff Mulgan’s residency led to the launch of the $6m Australian Centre for Social Innovation in 2009. The Centre is a social innovation laboratory to identify and support the innovative ideas, methods and people that will contribute to and accelerate positive social change.