October 11, 2016  Print

The chair of Innovation and Science Australia, Bill Ferris, has called for greater collaboration between Australian businesses and publicly funded research institutions such as The Westmead Institute, and warned about the consequences of failing to achieve increased commercialisation of research.


Addressing a Westmead Research Hub seminar at The Westmead Institute, Mr Ferris said Australia’s research excellence in translation and commercialisation is Australia’s “greatest challenge and opportunity of our time”, and wants to see a greater focus on increased collaboration and commercialisation of Australian research

“Better translation of research into commercial outcomes underpins economic growth and global competitiveness,” he said.

And, he issued a warning: “If we fail to translate research into commercial outcomes, we will sell Australia short on jobs, economic growth and quality of life.

“A future Australia must be propelled by its knowledge intensive sectors, one such stand-out sector is health and medical research.”

An economic study by Deloitte, commissioned by the Westmead precinct partners, revealed that Westmead has the potential to become a world-leading Innovation District with a cluster of up to 50,000 knowledge jobs by 2036.

Mr Ferris said the proposed Westmead Innovation District was an example of how collaboration between business and research institutions could deliver for the Australian economy and the health and well-being of Australians.

“The Westmead Innovation District has the potential to deliver many thousands of skilled jobs by 2030 on the back of continuing medical discoveries, clinical demonstration of improved health outcomes, and success for new medical products and services in domestic and world markets,” Mr Ferris said.

In introductory remarks, the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, Lucy Turnbull, told the seminar said it would be “hard to exaggerate the importance” of places like Westmead in the post-industrial era.

“Westmead’s planned developments offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity for private and
non-government businesses to come together and leverage off each other,” said Mrs Turnbull

More than $3.4 billion has already been earmarked by government, universities and the private sector for investment at Westmead over the next decade, including new health services, education, commercial and residential facilities and development of the Parramatta Light Rail.