Geelong businesses urged to work with Deakin

23 May 2011

Head of the Research Partnerships Office, Sandra McClelland, says growing international partnerships have benefits "in our own backyard".

By Sandra McClelland

Through its research, Deakin University is bringing the world to Geelong and taking Geelong to the world.

Our University now has a fantastic track record for breakthrough research in successful long term partnerships with industry, business and government organisations here in Geelong, around Australia and overseas.

The Research Partnerships team members at Deakin that I head up see their roles in this as helping add a tangible value to the work of our industry partners while creating benefits for the community here in Geelong.

As well as the obvious professional interest I have in this, I have a deeply personal one.

I am proud of the wonderful researchers I get to work alongside. There are some pretty clever people working here right on our doorstep and every day I find myself just wanting to tell the world all about them.

Also, I live in the Geelong region and I am immensely proud of it.

So when we have high-powered visitors from overseas, and that number just continues to increase, I am as keen to show off our region as I am our research capabilities.

When you can add the Great Ocean Road, or Bells Beach or the Bellarine Peninsula to cutting edge research into cures for cancer, you know instinctively you’re working with an advantage not available to some other research institutions and universities in Australia.

That was the case in March when the Metabolic Research Unit as Deakin was delighted to host Dr Marcel-Alexandre Juillerat, Senior Scientific Advisor, Nestle Research Centre from Lausanne in Switzerland.

Nestle, like many large corporates, has adopted an open innovation system and therefore is keen to partner with innovative universities across the world.

It was pleasing to learn that Deakin was on his list of innovative Australian universities to visit and and then to learn from him what more we needed to do to increasingly put ourselves on the global map in the areas of nutrition sciences.

As part of the process of taking Geelong to the world, over the next month Deakin’s researchers and partnership managers will visit China, India and Europe.

Victoria’s first Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor Peter Hodgson, the world-renowned director of the Waurn Ponds-based Institute for Technology Research and Innovation, will visit India to further our collaborations with a wide range of research and business organisations there.

Our research base in India is growing exponentially and reaching beyond the areas of engineering, advances materials and biosciences first pioneered by Professor Hodgson almost a decade ago.

Professor Catherine Bennett is working with the Indian Public Health Foundation in Bangalore and it has just been confirmed the Alfred Deakin Research Institute housed on the Geelong Waterfront will co-host a second Public Diplomacy conference in New Delhi in November.

Our gaze and efforts are necessarily turned towards the other emerging economic power – China.

Dr Russell Walker is visiting China to build on our successful relationship with the Chinese Academy of Tropical and Agricultural Sciences.

CATAS, as it is known, is engaged in research for sustainable rural and agricultural development in China.

The partnership is about sharing expertise between the Academy and Deakin and a joint research centre has been established with benefits including:

  • development of Deakin's research strengths in fibre/polymer science
  • increased international profile for Deakin
  • potential to contribute to China's economic growth
  • significant goodwill toward research enabling regional growth and prosperity

Deakin has also been growing its research interests in Europe.

Earlier this year we signed an MoU with the University of Manchester to undertake research into carbon composites.

This coincided with a Carbon Fibre – Future Directions conference held on the Waterfront that placed Deakin and the Geelong at the forefront of research into carbon composites – “the preferred materials of the 21st century” – and the creation of new manufacturing industries.

Also heading to Europe are Veena Vather from the Research Partnerships Office and Associate Professor Ken Walder. They are going at the invitation of a number of large European corporates to investigate potential collaborations under the Austrade Research Mission.

At Deakin we bring that international perspective to our local partners, too, confidently assuring them that they have the best of the world in research and innovation in their backyard.

Our University wants to work with businesses in Geelong to help them create new products, and then breakthrough to the world.

The tangible benefits of these are new industries, new jobs and especially new opportunities for our young people. It’s already happening and is another reason why I love my job so much.

So, come on, get on board and together let’s show the world what we can do here in Geelong!

More like this!

Research news