This page belongs to: Action Plan for Critical Technologies

Advanced data analytics

Systems, processes and techniques for analysing large volumes of data (i.e. ‘big data’) and providing useful and timely insights, usually with limited human intervention. Applications for advanced data analytics include medical diagnosis and treatment, acoustic analytics, regulatory compliance, insurance, climate monitoring, infrastructure forecasting and planning, and national security.

Key sectors

Influences all sectors of the economy, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Banking & Finance
  • Communications
  • Defence & Defence Industry
  • Energy & Environment
  • Health
  • Transport & Logistics
  • Education & Research
  • Mining & Resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Space

Estimated impact on national interest

Economic Prosperity - High
National Security - High

Key Australian Government actions


  • Australian Data Strategy
  • Australian Cyber Security Growth Network
  • Next Generation Technologies Fund & Defence Innovation Hub
  • Biosecurity Advanced Analytics Capability


  • Privacy Act 1988
  • Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) 2019

Example outcomes

  • Improved decision making across all sectors using pooled data
  • More accurate risk assessments
  • Improved public and individual health outcomes from predictive health models
  • Improved processes and productivity in any industry from construction to tourism
  • Enhanced recruitment and strategy development for sporting organisations and businesses
  • Improved lean manufacturing processes to reduce waste and improve time efficiencies in monitoring and controlling the supply and demand of products and services
  • Efficient management of equipment for mine operations
  • Improved farm productivity, and adoption and commercialisation of research through targeted data that provides early intervention and actions for producers

Underpinning science

ANZ Standard Research Classification Category

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Numerical and Computational Mathematics
  • Software Engineering
  • Data Management and Data Science
  • Theory of Computation
  • Quantum Physics
  • Statistics

Example applications

Readiness Level – Now

  • Business and market intelligence, including targeted and customised advertising and recommendations
  • Forecasting the spread of infectious diseases
  • Risk modelling, credit ratings and fraud detection for financial institutions
  • Bushfire prediction and analysis
  • Cyber threat analysis
  • Medical research and DNA analysis

Readiness Level – 2–5 years

  • Predictive modelling of complex systems (traffic, energy, weather, climate change, public health, crime, financial markets, etc.) for enhanced decision making or early warning and response

Readiness Level – Beyond 5 years

  • Human-machine symbiosis for enhanced decision making
  • Accelerated scientific discovery – extraction of scientific knowledge directly from experimental data

Australia's place in the world

The United States and China are closely matched for research impact in this area, ranking 1st and 2nd respectively. Four of the top 5 international research institutes are in China. Advanced data analytics is an area in which Australia has considerable research strength. We are ranked 5th internationally for research impact, with the University of Wollongong ranked 3rd internationally. Australia has 5 institutes in the international top 50, including the University of Wollongong, University of Melbourne, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney.

The United States has slightly more venture capital (VC) investment than India, and both have considerably greater investment than China (3rd). Australia ranks 16th globally, while worldwide VC investment has been increasing by around 49% p.a. since 2016. China has the greatest number of patents in this area, with more than 5 times that of the United States (ranked 2nd). Australia ranks 14th. Patents for advanced data analytics have increased by 22% p.a. since 2016.

India is also highly ranked for research impact (4th) and VC investment (2nd), consistent with their emerging strengths in data technologies.

Opportunities and risks

Advanced data analytics will have a significant impact on Australia’s economic prosperity and national security. The ability to efficiently analyse large data sets to identify useful patterns and trends, using machine learning, will underpin faster and more responsive decision making across society. For example, the ability to analyse datasets for population groups will help identify those at risk of environmental or heritable health risks. Data analysis will also contribute to farm productivity through better informed cropping, chemical usage and livestock management; greater use of data will provide more efficient processes and management across all sectors. In turn, advanced data analytics will result in increased operational efficiency and reduced operating costs across sectors, increasing our economic prosperity.

Whilst large data sets are invaluable for identifying trends and insights to improve decision making and forecasting, poor decision making and unwanted outcomes may result from biased or incomplete data, or poor analysis of the data, with impacts ranging from minor inconvenience to physical harm. Cyber security risks, including data security, privacy and identity theft, need to be addressed wherever large sets of data are collected and used. National and international initiatives are setting standards and frameworks to address and mitigate these risks, together with improved public awareness, consumer data-empowerment, and understanding of data collection, usage, privacy and security. Measures are also necessary to ensure that capabilities to accurately profile and measure sentiment in individuals and targeted groups are not used to undermine Australia’s social cohesion and democratic values.

In addition to the identified risks associated with data analytics, in order to realise the benefits of our research strengths, we need to ensure we have adequate data infrastructure to collect, store, manage, access, share and analyse large volumes of data.

Research impact (RI)

The United States has the highest research impact in this area, just ahead of China, with Australia ranked 5th. Total volume of published research has been increasing at around 7% p.a. over the 5 year period 2016–2020, with 21% of research involving international collaboration.

  1. USA - 28814
  2. China - 27944
  3. UK - 12846
  4. India - 9755
  5. Australia - 7599

The research impact provides an indication of the productivity of a country or institution. Here, productivity was assumed to be represented by the volume of publications (i.e. scholarly output) as an indicator of the resources & facilities, and the level of interest in the publications as an indicator of quality.

VC investment

The United States has slightly more venture capital (VC) investment than 2nd ranked India, well ahead of China and Germany. Australia is 16th for VC investment for advanced data analytics. Investment in this area has been growing at 49% p.a. since 2016.

  1. USA
  2. India
  3. China
  4. Germany
  5. UK
  1. Australia

Data from Crunchbase. The Crunchbase database provides a partial view of the global VC landscape. However the quantity, quality and richness of the data are considered to be statistically significant, and indicative of global trends.

Patents - international

The highest number of patents in this technology were filed by applicants or inventors in China with more than five times the number of the United States. Overall patent applications have been increasing at 22% annually since 2015. Australia ranks 14th.

  1. China - 33764
  2. USA - 6070
  3. Taiwan - 2525
  4. R. of Korea - 2440
  5. Japan - 552
  1. Australia - 80

Research institutions - international

China has four of the top 10 research institutions, all in the top 5. The University of Wollongong is ranked 3rd internationally.

Rank Top International Institution Research Impact
1 Chinese Academy of Sciences | China 2029
2 Shanghai Jiao Tong University | China 1546
3 University of Wollongong | Australia 1395
4 Beihang University | China 1345
5 Tsinghua University | China 1332
6 Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées | France 1282
7 King Saud University | Saudi Arabia 1199
8 Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Norway 1194
9 Hong Kong Polytechnic University | Hong Kong 1024
10 French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) | France 1017

Research Australian - Australia

Within Australia, the University of Wollongong has the highest research metric, and is ranked 3rd internationally. The top 5 Australian institutes are all ranked in the top 30 internationally. The University of Melbourne is 12th, University of Technology Sydney 21st, University of New South Wales 25th and the University of Sydney 27th.

Rank Top Australian Institution Research Impact
1 University of Wollongong 1395
2 University of Melbourne 980
3 University of Technology Sydney 748
4 University of New South Wales 710
5 University of Sydney 694
6 Deakin University 506
7 CSIRO 473
8 Swinburne University of Technology 409
9 Monash University 311
10 Macquarie University 128

Patents - Australia

Top 5 Australian Patent Applicants Patent Families
Data One Technologies 2
Pacbyte Software 2
Absolutist Technologies 1
Cellos Software 1

Patents filed by Australian businesses, 2015–2019.