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Collaborate Or Crumble: How Australia’s Triple Helix Is Being Challenged To Drive An Innovation Nation

Collaborate Or Crumble: How Australia’s Triple Helix Is Being Challenged To Drive An Innovation Nation

In this UIIM issue we take you ‘down under’, the location of the inaugural UIIN Asia-Pacific Conference, to a country going through an ‘innovation boom’. Australia is the home of well-known universities and some global businesses, however has been found to have unexpectedly low rates of university-industry collaboration, being ranked on this metric at the bottom of OECD countries. Through a new National Innovation and Science Agenda launched in 2015, national government is setting a wave of change in motion. With the notion of ‘publish or perish’ morphing into ‘collaborate or crumble’, universities are assuming a larger role in developing innovative businesses and entrepreneurial graduates. In the this issue, we present five articles which portray different aspects of this positive change.

In our first article, Melissa Ryan (Innovation Development Senior Manager at iAccelerate) explains how the University of Wollongong has become a key asset of the Illawarra region, which was faced with a decline in the steel and manufacturing industry. A shining example of this contribution is the iAccelerate Entrepreneurship Centre, which has tapped into the entrepreneurial potential of the students and alumni of the University of Wollongong.

Dr. John Howard, an experienced consultant in the Australian triple helix of government, business and universities as well as regional development, shares his vision for university-business engagement in Australia. He highlights the central role of this engagement within innovation systems and the expectations of increased productivity and competitiveness for business. At the same time, he is aware of the lack of knowledge of what the other is doing, which makes the role of intermediaries essential.

Adelaide, hosts one of the most ambitious and innovative initiatives, showcases its Tonsley Innovation Precinct. The vision is to bring together universities, research centres, start-ups, established business and the community to collaborate in different ways within a vibrant, modern residential living and retail space. The Tonsley Precint Director, Philipp Dautel and the Project Manager Jen Genn describe the rationale, the ideas and the challenges behind this initiative that aims to ‘connect business with the best and the brightest’.

Dr. Elizabeth Eastland has experienced working at a high-level within both university and business in Australia. This provides her with a unique position to described the current trends in the university and business sectors in Australia, identify their main barriers and explain the central role of CSIRO (Australia’s premier research institute) in the innovation ecosystem. Elizabeth foresees a positive future for innovation in Australia due to the higher commitment shown by all stakeholders.

Through a detailed quantitative study, Carolin Plewa and Drew Evans, provide an overview of the current state of university-industry collaboration in South Australia. This analysis shows that ‘there is a clear impetus for change’. This is particularly true in respect to academics, who are motivated not by money but joint publications as well as outputs coming from longer terms relationships more so than one-off transactions.

Aside from the Australian focus, UIIM also brings you the outstanding case of the Siemens Centre for Knowledge Interchange (CKI). Dr. Natasha Eckert (Head of Siemens University Relations) and Dr. Max Riedel (Senior Consultant at Siemens) share with us how nine universities world¬wide, considered Siemens strategic partners, host these centres including their creation, long term-vision, careful management and results.

The last article of this issue is a reflection on the role of universities in entrepreneurship education from a centre at the forefront of this topic, The Centre of Transformational Entrepreneurship at Coventry University. The centre’s director, Prof. Gideon Maas, and deputy director, Prof. Paul Jones, reflect on the pressure on entrepreneurial educators to rethink the way they support entrepreneurship education within entrepreneurial eco-systems and debate how it should be transformed in order to address critical challenges in a constructive manner.

We trust that all these stories will inform and inspire you in equal terms and we encourage you to keep innovating, pushing the limits and of course collaborating. Please visit to download this issue.


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