Hunter leader named Australia’s innovation champion

Thursday, 31 August 2017


The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, has announced University of Newcastle (UON) Pro Vice-Chancellor Industry Engagement & Innovation, Dr Sarah Pearson, as Australia’s Innovation Leader, representing the nation in the newly formed MIKTA Innovation Group.

Back: Dr Onno Widodo Purbo (Indonesia), Mr Sun-il Kim (Republic of Korea), Mr Cem Kural (Turkey). Front: Mr Ricardo Garza (Mexico) and Dr Sarah Pearson (Aus)

As part of Ms Bishop’s role in the Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia (MIKTA) consortium, Dr Pearson has been selected to represent Australia in a consultative partnership set to drive the global innovation agenda through collaboration, promotion and the commercialisation of new technologies and creative ideas.

The five Innovation Leaders from each member country will support the broader MIKTA initiative, which aims to increase mutual understanding, deepen bilateral ties and find common grounds for cooperation.

Dr Pearson said she was thrilled to represent Australia in a role committed to strengthening international relations.

“I look forward to playing a part in helping Australia connect with other countries to drive innovation, learn from and with others globally, and join forces to solve complex, high impact global challenges.

“International collaboration is crucial, as we need to learn from others attempting to build innovation culture and capability as well as people with global networks to access talent investment and markets,” she said.

Established in 2013, MIKTA is led by the foreign ministers of the member countries who come from diverse cultures and regions, yet share core values and similarities.

The leaders recognise that building dynamic, cooperative and inclusive innovation ecosystems contributes to the creation of new and better jobs, increasing productivity, addressing global challenges, building a cleaner environment, promoting inclusive labour force participation, reducing inequalities, improving people's lives and eroding poverty.

Dr Pearson stressed that the Innovation Leaders’ efforts would further opportunity for budding entrepreneurs in member countries.

“Short term, we will share lessons learnt in terms of growing innovation in our respective countries, whilst also supporting a challenge to uncover solutions that will address the issue that 75 million young people are out of school due to the fact that they live in a crisis affected country.

“Longer term, we will see our entrepreneurs spending time in other member countries, building connections to new markets, companies and knowledge, leading to greater connectivity and understanding.

“This will help Australia build stronger and broader commercial and diplomatic ties with these nations, as well as help us to mature and strengthen our innovation community and activity. I urge our universities to facilitate global industry partnerships,” she said.

Dr Pearson joins Mr Ricardo Garza, Chief Technology Officer of Softtek (Mexico), Dr Onno Widodo Purbo, cybersecurity specialist and social entrepreneur (Indonesia), Mr Sun-il Kim, former President of the Centre for Creative Economy and Innovation, Daegu (Republic of Korea) and Mr Cem Kural, Director of Research and Development at Arçelik A.Ş (Turkey) as the MIKTA Innovation Group’s leaders.

The group visited UON’s NeW Space city campus, Three76 Innovation Hub and NIER facility earlier this week, as they explored Newcastle’s role as a regional innovation ecosystem.