Home' Forge : Vol 2 No 4 Contents 2 // From the publisher
Innovation at Australian universities is
equal parts inspiring and frustrating.
It’s inspiring because of the many
outstanding academics who produce
research that has an impact on the
community, industry and government.
It’s frustrating because so much of
this research remains within academic
journals; hidden to the public, obscure
to industry and not part of a broader
university narrative. The upshot: too
many great stories across Australian
universities are not told.
I thought about this communication
challenge after reading Forge’s special
report on the ‘blue economy’. I doubt any
Australian business magazine has ever
devoted as much space to the economics
and sustainability of oceans in a single issue.
Australia’s universities should take a
bow for their work in the blue economy.
The University of Western Australia,
for example, is leading global research
efforts to improve understanding of the
Indian Ocean – the world’s third-largest
and least understood.
Macquarie University is another
institution doing terrific work in
marine sciences. Its researchers are
fusing paleoclimatology (the study of
past climates) with innovative coastal
modelling techniques to understand how
the predicted southward expansion of
the tropics will affect storm activity, wave
patterns and sand movement.
This is critical research as oceans warm,
more tropical storms form, and different
wave patterns lead to greater beach erosion
– as was the casein parts of Sydney’s
Northern Beaches earlier this year.
Edith Cowan University researchers are
shedding light on the amount of carbon
stored in seagrasses, mangroves and salt
marshes. The amount of carbon stored in
Australia’s wetland vegetation – valued
at tens of billions of dollars – should be
an eye-opener for governments.
Flinders University is doing important
work in aquaculture, marine engineering
(in areas such as autonomous vehicles),
marine bioproducts and coastal
rehabilitation; while Monash University
is helping to educate Indonesians on the
latest marine sciences thinking.
I could go on with other examples of
Australian university research that
is making a meaningful difference in
communities here and overseas. Forge
is proudly filled each quarter with
innovation features such as these, and we
intend to do more of them.
We’re sick of the negativity about
university research and the sector ’s
supposed lack of industry collaboration.
Sometimes, I wonder if the critics have
set foot on a university campus lately
and witnessed the transformation that
is underway to produce more applied
research that is translated for industry
Of course, universities can and should
do much more to tell their research
story. Occasional media releases about
research outcomes and media columns
from academics are valuable, but they do
not deliver the type of information that
is needed to inform industry and attract
attention and funding.
By bringing together several research
projects as part of a broader account of
a university’s research strategy, Forge
fills an important gap in this market.
We passionately believe in the power of
innovation storytelling to engage people
in new ideas.
Since its 2014 launch, Forge has profiled
dozens of university faculties and
research institutions. The response
from industry and universities has been
exceptional. There is growing demand
for well-written information that
translates complex university research
for a mainstream audience – and there is
no shortage of great stories in this area.
I trust that you enjoy this issue of Forge,
our last for 2016. On behalf of everyone
at Forge, I hope you and your family have
a happy and safe holiday season (and
that you read this issue from cover to
cover on a summer day).
Forge continues to go from strength to
strength, attracting more advertisers,
readers and distributors. We have big
plans for 2017, in line with our ethos
of championing Australian innovation
and entrepreneurship – and those who
David Haratsis, publisher, Forge.
Lifting the veil on university research: ‘blue economy’
collaboration is a shining example of stories that demand a
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