Collaborating with Edith Cowan University

Dr Darren Gibson - ECU

Economic drivers are putting the pressure on industry and universities to collaborate, but Australian universities and companies are falling behind when it comes to collaborating with each other according to Global Innovation Index data, (Australia down from 17th in 2015 to 19th in 2016). 

University business collaborations can investigate problems they couldn’t solve on their own.  Further, without such synergy, organisations and nations will struggle to achieve their economic potential, and global productivity will inevitably be compromised.

The payoff for companies who choose to collaborate with academic institutions is significant.  A recent study by Cadence Economics confirmed that 16,000 companies derived $10.6 billion in revenue when collaborating with universities with a return on investment for these companies being $4.50 for every $1.00 invested.   

Working with an academic institution, diverse expertise can be applied to a problem, rather than looking at the question through a single lens.

Access to a wide range of infrastructure within universities, including multi-million dollar pieces of equipment is a big win for industry, particularly small-to-medium sized enterprises.

Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Clean Room, valued at around $10 million, has been used on many industry projects for a range of work, including materials growth, etching and metallisation.

Earlier this year, a $1.6 million grant, funded by the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centre – Project scheme, was awarded to ClearVue Technologies to collaborate with ECU’s Electron Science Research Institute to develop greenhouses powered by nanotechnology.

At present, industry at times doesn’t know how to get through the front door and approach academics in a university setting.

To try to address the lack of industry engagement, ECU developed and launched the iPREP WA model in 2014, to boost collaboration by offering a program where PhD students spend six weeks working with a business to address an industry problem.

THE LINK, launched in mid-2016 through a strategic collaboration between ECU and the City of Joondalup, is addressing access and communication issues as a priority by connecting businesses and academic researchers to develop innovative solutions to solve real-life problems.

In late 2017, ECU launched the Joondalup Innovation Hub, with an initial focus on cyber security, to drive economic growth in the northern corridor of Perth.   

ECU are in a great position to address business problems that will impact business in the long-term, and through this engagement, industry can diversify, grow and stand out from their competition.

For more information on this article, please contact Dr Darren Gibson, Senior Manager, Collaboration and Innovation, ORI, Edith Cowan University,  E: T: 08 6304 2870

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