In summary

  • Swinburne and UIIN co-hosted an insightful 2024 Australian Symposium, bringing together industry leaders, government representatives, researchers and students. 

  • Keynote speaker Professor Dieter Rombach emphasised collaboration's pivotal role in driving innovation.

  • The symposium shone a spotlight on Swinburne’s innovative university model, which has strong industry partnerships at its core.

Swinburne University of Technology joined forces with the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) to co-host the 2024 Australian Symposium, highlighting best practice in university-industry collaboration.

The three-day event, held at Swinburne's Hawthorn campus, brought together academic experts, industry leaders and government stakeholders to explore innovative ways of fostering partnerships between universities and industries.

With equal participation across higher education and industry, delegates were challenged to embrace new ways of thinking and transform their organisations' role in driving innovation.

The symposium featured a diverse range of panels and workshops, providing attendees with valuable insights into effective industry engagement strategies, pathways to research commercialisation, the evolving role of philanthropy in advancing university initiatives, and more. 

Keynote speaker Professor Dieter Rombach, Founding Director at Fraunhofer IESE (Institute for Experimental Software Engineering), delivered a passionate address emphasising the importance of university-industry collaboration in driving innovation.

Professor Rombach spoke to the urgent need for parallel innovation – delivering basic research, applied research and commercialisation in tandem, rather than sequentially.

At another session, delegates discovered how research-industry collaborations can drive Australia’s energy transition, with panellists from Siemens Australia, the Australian Hydrogen Council and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

As part of its commitment to fostering collaboration, Swinburne and UIIN provided 20 complementary tickets to PhD students from Swinburne and partner universities, ensuring the next generation of researchers have the skills and knowledge to work innovatively with industry.

In addition to showcasing best practice, the symposium also offered delegates hands-on workshops to assess their readiness for engagement and develop strategies for building successful partnerships.  

The symposium closed with a robust panel of entrepreneurial leaders, including representatives from The Startup Network, LaunchVic and Swinburne-led startups Enosis Therapeutics and Quitch, discussing their journeys from concept to commercialisation. 

Keynote speaker Professor Dieter Rombach (Founding Director of Fraunhofer IESE), opened the UIIN Australian Symposium 2024.

The prototype of a new and different Australian university 

Swinburne's pioneering university model – which is built on a foundation of strong partnerships with industry, communities, government and other tertiary institutions – was in focus throughout the symposium. Through this model, Swinburne promotes a collaborative, solutions-based approach to driving change and best practice in innovation.

Dr Werner van der Merwe, Swinburne’s Vice President, Innovation and Enterprise, said the UIIN Australian Symposium 2024 was an exemplar of how industry and universities can work together for a better world.

“Swinburne has grown a collective understanding of how industry can partner and interact with universities in different ways, according to the outcomes they seek, their readiness level and the scale of their business capabilities,” said Dr van der Merwe.

“The UIIN Symposium has been a resounding success, bringing together stakeholders from academia, industry and government to explore innovative ways of working together. By highlighting global best practice and providing practical insights, it has laid the groundwork for future collaborations to drive innovation on a global scale.”

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