The University of Newcastle, Australia

Hunter Innovation Precinct

Monday, 8 August 2016

A partnership between Muswellbrook Shire Council and the University of Newcastle has enabled the establishment of a tertiary education and research precinct in the Muswellbrook CBD.

Council and the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), at the University of Newcastle, will establish the Hunter Region Innovation Precinct to promote economic diversification in the areas of energy technologies and environmental remediation, land use management, soil productivity, water management, climate adaptation, energy efficiency, and precision or high efficiency agriculture.

At a practical level this involves partnering with researchers and industry participants to attract large scale pilot demonstration plant to Muswellbrook leading to training and jobs opportunities.

The Hunter Region Innovation Precinct will include the co-location of office, teaching and lab spaces and operate from the Upper Hunter Tertiary Education Centre, officially opened today in the Muswellbrook CBD, alongside Hunter TAFE.

Mayor of Muswellbrook Martin Rush has welcomed the partnership with the University and NIER as a landmark event in the ongoing diversification of the Upper Hunter economy.

“Council is delighted to welcome one of Australia’s leading universities and our region’s premier interdisciplinary research facility to the Upper Hunter, in a move which will strengthen both our regional economy and opportunities for the University and its leading research over a range of disciplines.

“The University has clearly recognised that our region’s geographic, mineral, water, agricultural and human resources provide significant advantages perfect for the conduct of groundbreaking research”.

The University of Newcastle is proud to be partnering with Muswellbrook Shire Council to support the Hunter in its diversification goals and foster its potential to transition into an innovation intensive region.

Director of NIER, Professor Alan Broadfoot, said the University of Newcastle would bring to the region its industry partners and leading researchers in key areas of energy, resources, land, water remediation and intensive agribusiness.

“Industry engaged research and training has a major role to play in regional economic transition and there is much to leverage when research intensive universities are embedded in regional areas.  The University aims to grow and highlight the unique duality of the Hunter Region as both a resource and innovation rich site for economic activity.”

Professor Broadfoot said the Hunter Region Innovation Precinct would help to foster an innovation ecosystem that adds capacity for existing industries and becomes an enabler for the new.

“The development of regional innovation acts as a driver for economic growth and as a drawcard for innovative companies looking to relocate or diversify,” he said.

“The Hunter will continue to be a magnet for industry with its significant suite of investment ready qualities. A research intensive innovation precinct builds on the existing strengths of the Hunter as a powerhouse for economic activity and will inject new emerging technologies and research infrastructure into the mix.”

UON recently received $1million in state funding to support the development of an Integrated Innovation Network across the Hunter by anchoring its entrepreneurial activities at key regional locations through five sub-projects. One of these initiatives will operate from the Hunter Region Innovation Precinct in Muswellbrook.

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