The global-regional innovation nexus
In his review of the UK government's science and innovation policy, Lord Sainsbury highlighted the paradox that "…while innovation is a global phenomenon, the role of regions as the critical nexus for innovation-based economic growth has increased."1
Engaging in research and innovation requires engaging in a 'global academy' where ideas and their outcomes are benchmarked against a world standard of quality and relevance. While Australia can expect to contribute around three per cent of the new global research outputs, we require experts to share in the knowledge development of the other 97 per cent. There are no late adopters of new research, only customers.
During the last decade there has been a growing awareness in the OECD and in major funding agencies that the effective translation of research outputs requires the formation of research and innovation 'clusters' or networks. Clustering can be a key means of driving regional development and can be defined as geographic concentrations of interconnected universities, companies, service providers, firms in related industries and associated institutions in particular fields working together to provide multidisciplinary solutions to complex problems. As an established research leader in energy, resources, logistics and optimisation, bio- and clinical medicine, and public health, UoN is uniquely positioned to build on these strengths through the work of NIER, HMRI, other key centres and new research and innovation clusters to translate great research into great innovation.
1 Lord Sainsbury (2007), The Race to the Top: A Review of Government's Science and Innovation Policies, London, p. 137