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A decade of effort in linking education, research, industry and government at the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Innovation Campus (IC) to drive social and economic improvement in the Illawarra region has been recognised with an international excellence award.
The Innovation Campus was today (30 September) awarded the Emerging Research Park Award at the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) 2016 Awards for Excellence ceremony, held as part of the AURP’s annual International Conference in Oklahoma, USA.
The conference, hosted by the University of Oklahoma Research Campus and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, brought together industry experts and research park leaders from across the US and around the world to share insights and best practices into how research parks can thrive through the power of ingenuity.
UOW Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Judy Raper said co-locating researchers, industry and innovation centres strengthens the relationship between a world-class research institution and leading businesses to help create new jobs and new industries for Australia’s tenth largest city.
“Innovation comes down to people and great ideas. It’s about the connections we make and the spirit of wanting to make a difference. While the facilities are important, we have also focused on the people inside them and their great ideas.
“At the Innovation Campus, we aim to provide the platform to push the boundaries and see what Wollongong can achieve to create future opportunities for success. The Innovation Campus is purpose in action.”
Since the start of construction in 2006, the Innovation Campus has created an environment dedicated to technological collaboration through supporting research, commercialisation and harnessing powerful organisational partnerships to drive economically viable business outcomes.
More than AUD $230 million has been invested in developing a state-of-the-art research and technology precinct to drive opportunities, growth and to extend research beyond the laboratory.
Further investment has been made in physical infrastructure, including a bridge linking the nearby industrial estate to the campus, landscaping to improve the public face of a prominent location close to the heart of Wollongong, and first-class facilities for commercial tenants.
More recently and with support from the State Government, the purpose-built iAccelerate Centre was opened, providing support and space for up to 280 entrepreneurs who will drive the diversification of the region’s economy.
“We aim to grow our innovation ecosystem and pursue the uptake of disruptive technologies that deliver positive economic impacts. We see the University as being the engine room of the Illawarra economy,” Professor Raper said.
Campus activities range from fundamental research in new materials, health, sustainable buildings and energy technologies to develop new ideas into products and services, through to hosting tenancies from multi-national organisations; which combined creates what is now a thriving innovation ecosystem.
The long-term outlook is positive, despite short-term challenges.
Program gives students the knowledge and skills to accelerate and sustain business growth.