Home' Forge : Vol 2 No 3 Contents 47
A rising star in the Australian university sector is driving regional development through
innovation and entrepreneurship.
An exceptional program of industry
engagement, research and teaching is
strengthening the University of Newcastle’s
(UON) regional and global impact.
UON is building a world-class
innovation and entrepreneurship
ecosystem across the Hunter Valley in
New South Wales – and showing how
Australian universities can lead the
transformation of regional economies in
the digital era.
UON has connections with leading offshore
universities that help similar regions to the
Hunter Valley and the New South Wales
Central Coast to transition from established
industries to higher-growth sectors.
One of UON’s closest partners, the
University of Waterloo in Ontario,
Canada, is at the centre of a technology
ecosystem that generates C$30 billion
in annual revenues. Another partner,
the University of Pittsburgh, leads a
thriving network of innovation. UON
wants to do the same.
‘The international experience shows
how universities can help redefine
regional economies,’ says UON
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research
and Innovation) Professor Kevin Hall.
‘UON strongly believes it can drive a
flourishing innovation ecosystem that
creates jobs and better social outcomes
and be a university that works hard to
deliver value for its community, through
a global focus.’
Hall says UON can connect businesses
and researchers across the region,
linking them into global networks.
‘We are working closer with industry
to commercialise more research
discoveries, form companies and target
global markets. In doing so, UON can
help internationalise other industries in
the region and create opportunity.’
Collaboration driving regional
The University, established in 1965, is a
pioneer of collaboration in the tertiary
sector, partnering with industry to solve the
challenges and problems of its region.
The federal government’s National
Innovation and Science Agenda
envisages greater collaboration between
universities and industry on research –
something that UON has done for years
and intends to take to another level
through its new 10-year strategic plan.
UON is Australia’s leading university for
industry income per academic, and ranks
in the top five for overall industry income.
It was one of the top 100 universities
worldwide for industry income and
international outlook in the 2015 Times
Higher Education World University
‘UON has a proud history of industry
collaboration across mining, energy,
engineering, medical research and other
sectors,’ says Hall. ‘From our research
centres to our Global Impact Clusters,
UON is embedded within industry, and
companies find us easy to work to with.’
UON has three major research
centres. The Newcastle Institute for
Energy and Resources (NIER) leads
research in energy and resources. NIER
is addressing global challenges such as
resource sustainability, productivity and
The Hunter Medical Research Institute
aligns more than 1500 researchers,
students and support staff from Hunter
New England Health and UON. Its
goal is to fight illnesses through a
translational research model.
The Australian Research Council
Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical
Science and Engineering is a pioneer
in geotechnical engineering design for
transport and energy infrastructure.
This results in increased sustainability
and productivity for major export
UON’s Global Impact Clusters are also
sparking collaborative research. The
clusters bring industry and government
partners together with researchers, sharing
information and driving new knowledge.
The launch of four Global Impact
Clusters is a key initiative in UON’s
NeW Futures Strategic Plan (2016–2025).
Energy, Resources, Food and Water
Better Health, Healthcare and
Strong Cities, Communities and
‘UON’s Global Impact Clusters can
develop multidisciplinary solutions for
complex economic and social problems,’
says Professor Hall. ‘We want the
clusters to have real impact in our
community and be recognised globally
for their work.’
with industry to transform
the local economy
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