Across two days, the Forum provided attendees with an opportunity to explore the role of universities, in partnership with business, industry, government and the community, in driving transition and future-proofing their regions. The program was structured around four key themes, focusing on models for regional transformation from around the world, developing skills and aspiration for the future workforce, and leveraging the presence and impact of universities as a catalyst for renewal. Each theme included keynote presentations by distinguished speakers and leaders, who provided insights and strategies shaped by their perspectives on regional transformation. Keynote presentations were complemented by panel discussions involving leaders from across sectors, as well as facilitated interactive workshops that offered all participants the opportunity to engage in the discussions.

The Forum concluded with a facilitated discussion for all attendees that drew together the key strategies, findings and insights across the thematic discussions of the Forum. These discussions will now inform a blueprint to support communities and universities with the critical work of driving regional renewal.

8:00 Registration / refreshments
8:30 Welcome to Country: Joe Griffin, Awabakal Custodian
8:35 Welcome: Professor Caroline McMillen, Vice-Chancellor, University of Newcastle, Australia

THEME ONE - Pathways to urban and regional renewal
8:50 Chair: Mr Nat McGregor, Chief Operating Officer, University of Newcastle, Australia
9:00 Keynote: Magnet Cities
Ms Caroline Haynes, Director, Magnet Cities, KPMG UK
9:30 Keynote: Lessons from the Pittsburgh model of economic transformation
Professor Mark Nordenberg, Emeritus Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh, USA
10:00 Keynote: Newcastle UK: A story of urban renewal
Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor, University of Newcastle UK
10:30 Morning tea
11:00 Panel 1: Strategies for urban and regional renewal
Facilitator: Professor Kevin Hall, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, University of Newcastle, Australia
Mr Jack Archer, Chief Executive Officer, Regional Australia Institute
Mr Ken Boal, Vice-President, CISCO Australia and New Zealand
Mr David Pitchford CBE LVO, Chief Executive Officer, UrbanGrowth NSW
Ms Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, Universities Australia
11:30 Workshop 1: Strategies for urban and regional renewal
Facilitator: Ms Kristen Keegan, Chief Executive Officer, Hunter Business Chamber, Australia
12:30 Lunch

THEME TWO - Smart workforce: The next generation
1:30 Chair: Conjoint Professor Geoff Lilliss, Chair of the Strategic Development Committee and Member of the University Council, University of Newcastle, Australia
1:40 Keynote: Smart Australia
Mr Nathan Taylor, Chief Economic, Committee for Economic Development of Australia
2:10 Keynote: Innovation and job creation: Smart regions
Dr Tom Corr, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Canada
2:40 Keynote: Smart Cities
Professor Colin Stirling, Vice-Chancellor, Flinders University, Australia
3:10 Afternoon tea
3:40 Panel 2: New jobs, smart workforce: Creating the ecosystem
Facilitator: Professor Liz Burd, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), University of Newcastle, Australia
Mr Bob Hawes, General Manager, Hunter Development Corporation, Australia
Professor Sung Key Jang, Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea
Mr Kyle Loades, President, National Roads and Motorists' Association Group, Australia
4:10 Workshop 2: Talent attraction and retention strategies
Facilitator: Ms Dianne Allen, Deputy Chancellor and Member of the University Council, University of Newcastle, Australia
5:10 Closing remarks: Mr Todd Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Regional Development Australia Hunter
5:30 Day one close
8:30 Refreshments

THEME THREE - Regional economic transition: Universities as catalysts
8:50 Chair: Ms Deborah Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Newcastle
Broadcasting New South Wales Television, and Member of the University Council, University of Newcastle, Australia
9:00 Keynote: Catapulting from UK to Australia
Dr David Sweeney, Director, Research and Knowledge Exchange, Higher Education Funding Council for England, UK
9:30 Keynote: University and Research Infrastructure
Mr Philip Clark AM, Chair of the Research Infrastructure Review, Member of the JP Morgan Advisory Counci, Australia
10:00 Keynote: Doing it differently: Embracing economic cycles for market-driven impact
Dr Alan Broadfoot, Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources, Australia
10:30 Morning tea
11:00 Panel 3: Universities as catalysts for regional economic transition
Facilitator: Mr Marcus Westbury, Founder of Renew Newcastle, author and broadcaster
Mr Trent Bagnall, Co-Founder, Slingshot Accelerator, Australia
Ms Alison Coutts, Chief Executive Officer, NuSep Holdings, Australia
Professor Annabelle Duncan, Vice-Chancellor, University of New England, Australia
Dr Roger Neill, Research Leader, Defence Science and Technology Group, Australia
11:30 Workshop 3: Key strategies to drive regional economic transition
Facilitator: Mr Paul Anderson, Chief Executive, Gosford City Counci, Australia
12:30 Lunch

THEME FOUR - Urban and regional transformation: Shaping the Blueprint
1:30 Chair: Ms Winnie Eley, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement), University of Newcastle, Australia

Workshop 4: Shaping the Blueprint: Urban and regional transforrnation

Facilitator: Ms Caroline Haynes, Director, Magnet Cities, KPMG UK

Ms Liz Ritchie, WA State Director, Committee for the Economic Development of Australia
Dr Caroline Perkins, Executive Director, Regional Universities Network 

Professor Andrew Parfitt, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Newcastle, Australia

2:30 Vote of thanks and closing remarks: Mr Paul Jeans, Chancellor and Member of the University Council, University of Newcastle, Australia
3:00 Forum close