Invention to Innovation

How Scientists Can Drive Our Economy

June 2023
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    19th June 2023
  • ISBN 9781486316373
  • Language English
  • Pages 288 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  • Images illustrations

Invention to Innovation charts a course for scientists, leaders, investors and policy makers to translate research into growing innovative, competitive companies and industries. With extensive experience and insights gained over three decades, Dr. Larry Marshall demonstrates how science can generate new value that grows markets and creates jobs while also delivering social, environmental, and economic benefits.

Through a combination of advice, examples, and vision, this thought-provoking work shows how Australia’s world-class science can navigate across the "Valley of Death" to become successful innovations and grow our economy. With contributions from leaders in business, research, venture, and scientists who have made the leap to become "scientist CEOs," Invention to Innovation is essential reading for anyone who believes Australia’s excellent science deserves a vibrant, globally competitive innovation ecosystem to ensure our sustainable and prosperous future.


  • Real-world stories of the challenges, failures and successes of science and business leaders, as well as practical advice for aspiring scientist CEOs, deep-tech investors, policy makers and c-suite leaders.
  • Teaches scientists how to turn their invention into a successful company.
  • Demonstrates how science-driven companies and CEOs can grow a new economic pillar for Australia that’s more resilient in navigating increasing international disruption.
  • Shows how collaboration with partners will help to realize Australia’s true global potential and secure our prosperity for generations to come.
  • Celebrates the power of science and technology to drive positive change by solving the greatest challenges.
  • Includes personal insights from Dr. Larry Marshall, as well as a rich and diverse collection of interviews, including deep-tech leaders like ResMed’s Peter Farrell, Cochlear’s Catherine Livingstone and Finisar’s Frank Levinson; industry leaders like Telstra Health's Mary Foley, Fortescue’s Andrew Forrest, Microsoft’s Steven Worrall and Hungry Jack’s Jack Cowin; deep-tech venture capitalists like Blackbird’s Niki Scevak, Main Sequence’s Phil Morle and Amalfi's Tristen Langley; former Australian Chief Scientist and entrepreneur Dr. Alan Finkel; and innovation experts like Lean LaunchPad’s Steve Blank and University of Technology Sydney’s Emeritus Professor Roy Green.

"The Digital Future has huge potential to unlock new waves of innovation and economic prosperity for all Australians. It's a future where Aussie kids see Aussie scientists and Aussie entrepreneurs solve Australian problems and take them to the world. Larry is passionate about this future for our children, and this book is all about how to make it happen."

"Powered by his extensive scientific entrepreneurship, Dr Larry Marshall shows us how to couple science with innovation to produce prosperity. Human ingenuity is an inexhaustible resource; this book explains how to mine it and refine it into societal value."

Dr. Alan Finkel, former Australian Chief Scientist, President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Chancellor of Monash University, CEO and Founder of Axon Instruments

"For Australia’s budding technology entrepreneurs, [Invention to Innovation] is an excellent ‘how to’ manual, full of practical advice, and offering useful, tangible guidance on how our scientists and entrepreneurs can seize the tremendous opportunities Australia offers."

Michelle Simmons, CEO and Founder of Silicon Quantum Computing and 2018 Australian of the Year

"Few scientists have transitioned to become business leaders, or to create public companies, but Larry Marshall has done just that – and by sharing uncomfortable truths, failures and successes, all anchored by the real life experience of someone who has crossed the Valley of Death more than once, Larry seeks to provide other scientists with the confidence that, they too, can do it."

Catherine Livingstone, AO, former Chair of CSIRO, Commonwealth Bank and Telstra; former President of the Business Council of Australia; and former CEO of Cochlear

"Australia has a proud history of scientific research and industrial innovation. But despite this, we’ve got a lousy track record of translating this innovation into real impact, especially commercial impact. … We will only succeed if we try. This book is an important first step towards success."

Dr. Andrew Forrest, AO, Chairman and Founder of Fortescue Metals Group, Fortescue Future Industries, Minderoo Foundation and Tattarang

About the authors

Part 1: How to transform a scientist
1: Australia’s innovation dilemma
2: Venturing solutions
3: Championing scientist CEOs
4: Pathways for scientist CEOs
5: Market vision
A scientist's guide for approaching a venture capitalist

Part 2: How to transform a company
6: Innovation agenda
7: Venture science

Part 3: How to transform the system
8: System on a mission

Conclusion: leaping forward

Larry Marshall, PhD

Dr. Larry Marshall was Chief Executive of Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, from 2015 to 2023, and prior to this spent more than 25 years in Silicon Valley, founding, leading and investing venture capital in deep-tech companies. With a PhD in physics, 20 patents, six startups and two IPOs to his name, Larry is a passionate supporter of Australian innovation and the power of science and technology to drive our economy and build resilience to future challenges.

Jenna Daroczy

Jenna Daroczy believes that well-chosen words and stories can inspire change. She works with leaders and changemakers to articulate their vision in robust ways that ignite interest, build understanding, influence opinion and inspire action. Jenna has worked as a journalist and in corporate communications for nearly two decades and has qualifications in communications, science, law and policy.

startup; venture capital; commercialization; technology; entrepreneurship