Swinburne creates Innovation Precinct

Friday 11 March 2016

a birdseye view overlooking our hawthorn campus

In summary

  • Business Incubator supports start-ups
  • Entrepreneurship Experience connects students with research and industry
  • Hawthorn Fire Station to become precinct gateway

Swinburne University of Technology is creating an Innovation Precinct at its Hawthorn Campus.

The precinct will position Swinburne as a centre of entrepreneurial activity, integrating research, new business development and commercialisation.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic says the Swinburne initiative will provide a model for boosting Australia’s lagging innovation output.

“Our goal is to create a culture of innovation across the campus,” Professor Subic says.

“This approach fits neatly with the National Innovation and Science Agenda’s call to ‘embrace risk, pursue ideas and learn from mistakes’.” 

Innovation Precinct model

The Innovation Precinct model was developed in consultation with  entrepreneurs, leading innovation authorities, and senior leaders from industry and business.

The three main pillars of the Precinct are:

  • Design Factory Melbourne – drives design thinking and action across the Precinct
  • Digital Innovation Lab – leads research and development that results in new products and applications such as digital health and wearable technologies, smart homes and assistive care, and virtual reality training
  • Factory of the Future – uses design and digital technologies to address manufacturing challenges, and pilots production and fabrication processes developed in collaboration with industry

A Business Incubator will support at least 10 – 15 start-ups each year, once fully implemented.

A Student Entrepreneurship Experience will provide opportunities to students through interdisciplinary university teams and partnerships with business and industry. The program is based on Lean Start-up principles, and includes a mentoring program that brings alumni back into the university to support students.

Innovation Precinct leadership team

Professor Sally McArthur has been appointed Director of the Swinburne Innovation Precinct.

Other leaders include:

  • Professor Bronwyn Fox, Director of the Factory of the Future
  • Associate Professor Anita Kocsis, Director of Design Factory Melbourne
  • Associate Professor Noordin Shehabuddeen, Director of Business Incubator

The management of the Precinct will be overseen by Professor Matthew Cuthbertson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development, Innovation & Commercialisation).

Fire Station home to Innovation Precinct

The Fire Station on the corner of William Street and McLeod Lane will be renovated to become the gateway to the Innovation Precinct.

It will host key business units and selected industry partners, and become a signature venue for hosting innovation activities, from business breakfasts to workshops and brainstorming sessions.