Keynote Presentations

Newcastle UK: A story of urban renewal

Professor Chris Brink

Professor Brink describes the critical role that research and innovation has played in the renewal of Newcastle UK after significant industrial decline. Central to this transformation was a focus on leveraging the city's existing strengths and industries, and developing 'clusters' with existing and new enterprises co-located in areas of strategic interest and near university research facilities and leaders. Professor Brink highlights the city’s focus on three sites of regeneration, each with a science and/or engineering base, including a Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Science Central – an urban sustainability initiative, and the Neptune National Centre for Offshore and Subsea Engineering.

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Doing it differently: Embracing economic cycles for market-driven impact

Dr Alan Broadfoot

Dr Broadfoot's presentation highlights the need for regions to identify and leverage the opportunities that emerge within economic cycles, both in times of growth and periods of decline. Dr Broadfoot explains how the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) has facilitated collaborative research partnerships between the University of Newcastle and industry, and how this NIER model is translating research to positive economic outcomes for the energy and resources sector and the community. 

More information on NIER is available at:

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Innovation and job creation: Smart regions

DR Tom Corr

Dr Corr presents the work of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) in Canada, which aim to foster productive working partnerships between industry and universities across the province. The presentation outlines how the OCEs are operating as a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda, with a focus on creating industry driven jobs and economic growth. Dr Corr also discusses the transformational impact of a project in the town of Atikokan, which leveraged the closure of the town’s coal plant to establish a bioenergy research program that injected new jobs, expertise and created a new economic base for the region. More information on the Ontario Centres of Excellence is available at The OCE 2013-14 Annual Report is also available to view at

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Magnet Cities

Caroline Haynes

Caroline Haynes presents the work she led at KPMG UK on the 'Magnet Cities' project, which studied the phases of 'decline, fight back and victory' for nine cities around the world. Caroline highlights the cities of Pittsburgh and Oklahoma City as key examples, and explains the commonalities among cities that achieved the 'magnet' effect when attracting and retaining talent. Caroline also explores the roles of universities in supporting and driving regional transformation.
The full Magnet Cities report is available at

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Lessons from the Pittsburgh model of economic transformation

Professor Mark Nordenberg

Professor Nordenberg shares the story of Pittsburgh's transformation, which saw the city transition from its declining industrial, steel production origins to a booming knowledge-based economy that delivers education, research and services across various sectors, including advanced manufacturing, energy, finance and business, health and information technology. Central to this transformation to a knowledge economy, was the city's two universities: the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

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Smart Cities

Professor Colin Stirling

Professor Stirling introduces Tonsley Park in Adelaide as an example of a smart city development. The Tonsley Park precinct was created in response to the recent decline in South Australia’s manufacturing capacity, and aims to bring together business, research and education with the express purpose of transitioning the state toward a high-value manufacturing sector that will create new jobs for the future.

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Catapulting from UK to Australia

Dr David Sweeney

Dr Sweeney’s presentation highlights how universities in the UK are supporting economic and productivity growth through a national innovation system. Dr Sweeney shares research conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to understand the degree of collaboration between UK universities and small to medium enterprises, as well as universities’ commercial activities. This work informed Government policy and funding for universities, including the Research Excellence Framework and Catapult Centres, which support greater knowledge exchange and transfer between universities and business. The presentation also provides an overview of the economic impact the UK approach has achieved.

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Smart Australia

Nathan Taylor

In June 2015, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia released its Australia's Future Workforce? Report, which outlines the skills and jobs that will be required to secure the Australia's ongoing competitiveness and prosperity into the future. Mr Taylor presents the key findings of the report and highlights examples of sectors that are already exposed to the changing and automation of the workforce. The Australia's Future Workforce? Report can be accessed at:

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