Australia can learn from international growth centres

The below is a statement from the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council’s chairman, John Pollaers.

Australia
can learn from international experience and build collaborative pathways to sustainable
economic success, the Chairman of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing
Council, Mr John Pollaers, said today.

Speaking during a visit to the UK’s highly
successful Catapult Centres, Mr Pollaers said that in a very short time, the
Catapults had been able to turbo-charge collaborative efforts between research
and industry to produce groundbreaking commercial results.

Mr Pollaers said the AAMC keenly supports the
Federal Government’s new Industry Growth Centres as key mechanisms for building
genuine rapport between research and industry.

“Our members will be working closely with
them to ensure that the aspirations turn into actions and that the advanced
manufacturing sector reaps the full benefit.”

“There is no question that the IGCs are a
critical opportunity to strengthen and build our high value knowledge-based
industries,” he said.

“It is very clear from the UK experience –
and experience in the United States also – that creating environments where
engineers and scientists can come together as partners brings about breakthroughs
in the application of science and the development of commercial outcomes.

“These co-funded environments are solving
real business problems, they are building the skills required, and the
collaborative model is driving an approach that sets aside any competitive view
– even for the universities involved.
The door is open,” Mr Pollaers said.

“The real prize is not just in solving the
business problem or the research problem alone.
The real prize has been in the capability being built among the people
involved,” Mr Pollaers said.

“UK manufacturers and research partners are
giving serious thought to the skills development pipeline – the competitive
advantages of training people in the application of new technologies. This has included creating new pathways
between apprenticeships and tertiary degree outcomes.”

The Catapult Centres are a network of elite
technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK as
a long-term investment in the UK’s economic capability.

Applying business-led research, the High
Value Manufacturing Catapults are helping businesses transform ideas into
valuable products and services that are globally competitive.

Mr Pollaers said the centres were
established following an independent transparent evaluation process of the UK’s
research capabilities. A series of
institutes were identified as doing globally-competitive and cutting edge
research. The centres of excellence then
developed co-funding models to invest in the staff and industrial scale
equipment necessary to develop and scale up new products and processes.

“One of the keys to international success
in the transition to advanced manufacturing has been governments focusing
research and public policy initiatives rigorously on a small number of areas of
true competitive advantage – rather than bolstering dying industries, or
spreading efforts too thinly,” Mr Pollaers said.

Image: http://www.uk-cpi.com/