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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region.

Intellectual capital

With our knowledge-based economy and highly educated workforce, Canberra is the intellectual capital of Australia.

Companies, universities and the government invest heavily in research and development in our city. The Australian Government spends 17% of its research and development budget in Canberra.

We’ve also experienced a 30% increase in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services sector.


There are 5 university campuses in Canberra. The ANU is ranked 22nd in the world and first in Australia. Of our population:

  • 16% are international students
  • international student numbers grew by 25% in 2016-2017
  • international students contribute $750 million annually to the ACT economy

With world-class educations and a diverse range of graduates, Canberra offers companies a source of well-educated graduates.

Partnerships between our government, universites, research institutes and business also grows our intellectual capability.

Why Canberra is the intellectual capital of Australia

In Canberra we have the:

  • highest educated population in Australia
  • highest bachelor’s degrees per capita in Australia
  • highest patents per capita in Australia

If your business needs innovative and intelligent thinkers, this is the best city in the country to recruit from highly educated and capable residents.


The Canberra Innovation Network provides access to a range of world-class universities and organisation. It partners with:

  • ACT Government
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Australian National University
  • University of Canberra
  • University of NSW Canberra
  • Canberra Institute of Technology
  • major corporate partners

With our highly educated workforce and top graduates, our currency is our intellectual capital.

Published date: 14 Nov 2023
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Interested in doing business in Canberra?

Contact the business team for information and advice.