A decade of success

Innovation Campus celebrates 10 years

The award-winning University of Wollongong (UOW) Innovation Campus is this week celebrating 10 years of activity in supporting a bright future for the Illawarra.

A series of free, public events on 17, 18 and 19 November will allow the community to take a look inside the buildings and learn more about the people and programs, their great ideas and the results achieved over the past 10 years and prospects into the future.

Since the first sod was turned in 2006, the 33-hectare Innovation Campus has grown to become an internationally recognised beachside research, development and commercial precinct established to drive partnerships and collaboration between academia and business in state-of-the-art facilities.

Innovation Campus was named the winner of the Emerging Research Park Award at the Association of University Research Parks Convention in Oklahoma City in September 2016.

The Innovation Campus sits on the sites that once comprised the Balgownie Migrant Workers’ Hostel, Fairy Meadow Migrant Hostel and Brandon Park.

In 2001 the park was formally transferred from Wollongong Sportsground Trust to the University of Wollongong and work on Stage 1 of the campus commenced in November 2006.

The campus has grown to become home to a number of UOW’s leading research institutes working to generate solutions to issues of global importance.

These include the development of ‘intelligent’ materials with the potential to regenerate damaged human nerves, the development of superconductors that make energy transmission more efficient, new techniques for sustainable building design, maritime law and security, and innovative approaches to health services delivery and policy.

The growth and direction of the campus was highlighted with the opening earlier this year of the iAccelerate Centre, a purpose-built business incubator and accelerator designed to support and nurture new ideas with the potential to become viable businesses.

The campus has made a significant contribution the local economy.

A UOW analysis shows Innovation Campus activities contribute $195 million to the Illawarra economy each year and supports the equivalent of 501 full time jobs.

NEC Australia officially opened its new corporate office at the Innovation Campus in September this year, with the operation to create more than 130 new technology jobs and connect UOW students with graduate opportunities with NEC.

UOW recently opened an Expressions of Interest process for a partner to help develop a thriving Health and Wellbeing Precinct at the campus.

The proposed precinct will comprise an integrated research and learning environment, and health and aged care facilities, while retaining the connection to the local bushland, parks and green spaces that have become such a vital part of the campus.

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE said the 10th Anniversary was a time to celebrate that the campus has been developed from strong government and community support.

“For more than 40 years, the University has been an anchor for the Illawarra economy, providing for the transition to new industries and new jobs,” he said.

“The University is a leader in innovation with local and global impact and we continue to be an active partner in growing Wollongong to reach its full potential as a vibrant, prosperous and globally competitive city.

“We believe in supporting organisations, individuals and our region to realise their purpose and ambitions faster by connecting to an ideas network dedicated to global impact. Innovation Campus is a key component to this commitment.

“Although relatively young, the Innovation Campus is constantly evolving to stay at the forefront of an ever-changing world.

“The future focus is planned around health and wellbeing; innovative manufacturing; sustainability; innovation; and ICT and finance,” Professor Wellings said.

Innovation Campus plays a significant role in the regional economy, contributing $195 million to the Illawarra region every year.

An economic impact assessment of the Campus was compiled using 2015 data, with key economic issues centred on jobs and job creation.

In 2015, the direct gross output of Innovation Campus in the Illawarra region was $195 million, and the direct value-added generated was $111 million.

This is the first economic impact study of the campus, and is a notable increase from modelling done in 2013 which estimated the Campus would provide $162 million in direct gross output.

A total of $96 million in labour income was directly generated by the Campus’s operations.

Other report highlights include:

  • Every 10 jobs created at the Campus sustains another 8.14 jobs elsewhere in the regional economy.
  • $10 in direct household income paid to people employed at the Campus generates a further $6.13 in income elsewhere in the regional economy.
  • $10 in direct value added by Campus businesses leads to a further $6.42 in value added elsewhere in the regional economy.
  • $10 in revenue produced by the Campus leads to a further $10.04 in output elsewhere in the regional economy.
  • 501 full time employees (FTE) were employed at the Campus.

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