COLLABORATION

University of Technology Sydney is on a mission to build industry collaboration

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UTS hopes the conference and their example in innovation will drive good policy from the government.

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is on a mission to increase the number of collaborations with industry, recognising the intrinsic value in bringing the worlds of academia and business together.

After disappointing efforts from the Australian government to build industry’s contribution to academia, UTS wants to ensure its students get the important leg-up that can set them apart in the eye of employers and make them job-ready before entering the workplace.

Not to mention the opportunity for university and industry to exchange ideas and spur innovation.

“At government level, it has lost sight of the importance of [academic and industry] engagement and if we’re not seeing the direction we’d like to see from government, for example, then the onus is on institutions to get on and do it themselves,” UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Innovation and Enterprise, Glenn Wightwick, told InnovationAus.com.

UTS’s drive comes as it plays host to one of the world’s largest industry forums. It is the first time the University Industry Engagement Conference will be hosted in Sydney.

Organised by the University of Industry Innovation Network (UIIN), the conference brings together diverse university engagement managers, researchers, policymakers, and innovation and entrepreneurship managers from over 110 organisations.

Conferences like this aim to provide a platform for universities and business to build relationships, share ideas, and discover where they can collaborate. It is important for both parties, given some of the most ground-breaking innovations have sprung from academia and business combining their expertise to advance a field.

There are some 500 industry leaders and researchers from over 25 countries attending, all considered leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“It’s a chance for us to directly pick up people’s ideas. It’s also about getting a sense of what other countries and geographies are doing,” Wightwick said.

“The sharing of those best practices and knowledge is really important. Of course, what we’re trying to achieve is done in the context of our economy, our rules, and our regulations and government policies.

“It allows us to look at all the similarities, contrast, what works, what doesn’t work, and what experience other people have had – and that’s really invaluable.”

UTS hopes the conference and their example in innovation will drive good policy from the government. To further show their commitment to collaboration with industry, the university is developing its own technology precinct in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Ultimo.

The space will support emerging startups created by UTS’s own student entrepreneurs.

“We’re in the process of activating the space. We’ve got our innovation entrepreneurship team in a building just across the road, and we’re talking about creating a little precinct and taking over Ultimo,” Wightwick said.

“There are little laneways and cafes around there, and we want to open the doors up and let people in and out, which is part of getting that space activated.”