The University of Newcastle, Australia

Research-intensive universities in regions critical to Australia’s innovation and science agenda

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The University of Newcastle (UON) warmly welcomes the Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) launched yesterday by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, said policy clarity around the importance of innovation is essential if Australia is to leverage its research assets and become one of the globe's top-tier knowledge economies.

"From the vantage point of UON, which was ranked in the Top 8 of Universities across Australia for the highest quality of research in last week's ERA assessment, we welcome the initiatives today launched in NISA," said Professor McMillen.

"We have been calling for policy reform to ensure that our research excellence can and will drive world class innovation across our regions, and we strongly support those initiatives announced today that will build better connections between researchers and businesses."

These initiatives included the Linkage Projects Scheme and the development of Innovation Connections and Innovation in Regional Areas. As a global research leader in engineering, health and medicine, science, maths and the social sciences, the University also strongly supports the Global Innovation Strategy.

Professor McMillen said the University looked forward to actively engaging to shape the next stages of the implementation of the strategy.

"UON has highlighted there is a clear need to develop the measurement of engagement between universities and their business partners and the approach to measuring the economic, social and environmental impact of the work of universities across Australia," said Professor McMillen. 

"We have championed aligning University research funding arrangements with the imperative to incentivise collaboration with industry and business and we look forward to contributing to the discussion on the best approaches to achieve this." 

"The NISA Roadshow offers the opportunity to collaborate further and take the Agenda's initiatives and ideas to unlock the potential of Australia and our regions, and it would be excellent to see the Roadshow come to the Hunter region where business and industry collaboration and engagement with UON researchers provide a clear foundation for delivery on the Agenda " she said.

However, Professor McMillen said yesterday's NISA would have to pass a number of 'tests' if it is to provide the stimulus and resilience for Australia to withstand the current global economic headwinds and allow Australians across urban and regional Australia to participate in a knowledge based economy.

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