The University of Newcastle, Australia

Engagement

As one of the University’s flagship research institutes, NIER’s interdisciplinary teams and engaged industry partners are supported by a best-practice customer relationship service model.

History

NIER was established in 2010 as an Australian Government initiative funded by $30 million from the Education Investment Fund and generously supported by $2.2 million funding from the NSW Government. The institute was driven by a clear objective, to build a world-class facility as well as a critical mass of leading researchers across disciplines to undertake innovation research for next generation energy solutions and minimising energy usage in the resources sector.

NIER is located on a 3.8 hectare precinct at the University’s Callaghan campus, and comprises extensive mineral, chemical and related technical laboratories, industrial-scale pilot plant workshops, demonstration units, and office accommodation for over 400 staff, students and industry partners. The site has historical importance as BHP’s former Newcastle Technology Centre, one of the first industrial facilities in Australia where international research in chemistry, chemical engineering, coal and ore beneficiation, and metallurgy was advanced. NIER is proud to continue this legacy of innovation.

Model of Engagement

NIER provides a multidisciplinary model which connects academia and industry through a common platform for transformational research in our core areas of energy and resources. The model facilitates collective capacity and joint branding of industry partners and research groups, enabling them to engage significant national and international research collaborations. The model also enhances client relationship management through a single governance structure, which offers one point of contact for the implementation of master agreements, research contracts and the resolution of high-level issues. Key operational strategies of the Institute include:

  • Using the ‘client relationship model’ to garner industry engagement
  • Forecasting emerging trends to provide clients with relevant, leading research
  • Establishing and operating interdisciplinary teams from a neutral territory
  • Embedding consultative management and governance practices into the Institute’s operations.