SYDNEY — China has teamed up with a leading Australian university to help create a 100 million Australian dollar ($76.87 million) innovation hub to boost research in advanced materials, biotechnology, energy and environmental engineering.
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and leading Chinese companies will develop a Torch Innovation Precinct at the university’s campus in Sydney, building on the Ministry of Science and Technology’s flagship “Torch” high technology.
UNSW international executive director Laurie Pearcey said joining the Torch innovation program was about future proofing of Australia’s competitiveness, as China becomes the world’s largest investor in research and development.
“This is a major shift in the global knowledge economy and Australia must be strategically positioned,” Pearcey said in a statement on April 15.
“As mining investment contracts and commodity prices cool, Australia has an opportunity to leverage its world-class universities, the tens of thousands of Chinese students studying here and our strong links to Asia to meet the challenges of the ideas boom.”
The 150 mainland precincts have already successfully driven innovation via its linkages between research organisations, universities and business, generating some 7 percent of GDP, 10 percent of industrial output and 16 percent of export value alone.
The Torch Innovation Precinct at UNSW is expected to add more than 1 billion Australian dollars to Australia’s economic output within the first decade, according to Deloitte Access Economics.
An initial 30 million Australian dollar ($23.06 million) investment has been secured by eight Chinese companies to support the research in advanced materials, biotechnology, energy and environmental engineering at specially built incubator spaces at its Sydney campus.
Investment is expected to reach 100 million Australian dollars ($76.87 million), enabling the construction of a purpose built, globally connected innovation precinct by 2025.