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ACT Pins Hopes on Innovation

ACT Pins Hopes on Innovation

The ACT Government and University of Canberra are pinning their hopes on innovation and creativity to secure the Canberra region’s long-term economic prosperity.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope earlier this month opened the University of Canberra Innovation Centre (UCIC), intended to be a focus for the interaction between high level education, business and consultancy, and the R&D endeavours of the University and a range of outside organizations.

The new integrated research and technology Centre seeks to build on UC’s success in the area of professional advancement and postgraduate studies, and advances in research — and particularly that with clear application and relevance. UC has been involved in innovation centre type projects since 1996, when it opened its first Innovation Centre designed to assist entrepreneurial researchers to establish spin off companies to commercialise their intellectual property.

Known as UCIC, the new centre — already fully leased — is expected to become an integrated research and technology centre that will allow for individual businesses to operate within. Tenants include Emergency Management Australia, the University’s Professional Management Program, the University of Canberra College, Centre for Customs and Excise and the Retro Cafe.

The UC Innovation Centre is a modern, high technology centre, dedicated to productive partnerships, university-industry interaction and business growth. It is a unique professional space for investigation, discovery and innovation. It seeks to enhance the intellectual environment for advanced technologies to facilitate new products and ideas for communities and industry. It is also positioning itself as the place of the future for progressive research-based companies.

In opening the Centre Stanhope lauded the University’s renewed commitment to developing successful partnerships with local business.

“The University of Canberra and my Government share a vision of ‘Partnerships for Growth’.

“The economic future of the ACT depends on an ability to commercially exploit our significant knowledge assets. We must work together to ensure we better spin-off local research and development achievements,” he says.

The Government’s Canberra Plan and its component Economic White Paper identify the importance of innovation and creativity to our long-term economic prosperity. The government is working to capitalize on key growth areas including ICT, biotechnology, defence industries, education export and environmental management. The Chief Minister says the Government is backing the potential of these industries to foster sustainable economic growth where everyone in the Territory will ultimately benefit.

“The Economic White Paper commits my Government to cultivating innovation through a series of actions. The $10 million Commercialisation Fund, announced in this year’s budget, and the continuation of the extremely successful Knowledge Fund stand at the forefront of this commitment to innovation. The opening of this centre marks the common vision between the University of Canberra and the ACT Government. It is a considerable step forward in the growth of a local knowledge-based economy.”

The Centre includes high-speed communications, a state-of-the-art training centre for computer and business graduates, a shared boardroom, conference room, coffee shop and exhibition facilities. It is a unique professional space for investigation, discovery and innovation.

UC Innovation Centre will enhance the intellectual environment for advanced technologies, to facilitate new products and ideas for communities and industry.

The University is using the centre to woo progressive research-based companies, and is determined to establish interactive partnerships between major business and research enterprises and higher education throughout the capital region.

The new Innovation Centre is the first stage of a four-stage plan. When the other three stages come to fruition, a sky-lit street that will provide a central space around which the complex revolves will link them. Together, they will house about 1000 people.

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