Australia’s Silicon Valley Reaches Proof of Concept Stage
Deakin University’s ambitious plans to create the Australian version of Silicon Valley, based on design and manufacturing, has moved a step closer with the Victorian State Government committing $6 million to a $13 million expansion of the Geelong Technology Precinct (GTP).
Welcoming the announcement, Deakin University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor David Stokes, said the money would be used to build a Future Design and Manufacturing facility that will incorporate a 3000 square metre Proof of Concept building.
“The innovative Deakin model of co-location with collaboration used in the GTP brings together researchers and industry representatives in the one facility and better enables research to be taken from concept to commercialisation,” Professor Stokes said.
“The Proof of Concept building will assist this process since it will provide additional space for prototyping and pre-commercial work to occur.”
Professor Stokes said the expansion supported Deakin’s ambitious plans to establish a new Institute for Technology Research and Innovation at the GTP, which will bring together Deakin’s strengths in biosciences, advanced materials and intelligent systems. It complements Deakin’s plans to establish a Deakin India Research Institute in Bangalore, India.
“The future of manufacturing lies in the bringing together of these three technologies,” Professor Stokes said.
“The new facility is an important part of Deakin’s plan to make the GTP a stand-out attraction for industry in regional Victoria.
“We want the GTP to continue to be a place which attracts industry to build long term research partnerships with Deakin, and thus enhances their business profitability. The GTP will be an important knowledge pipeline into global markets.”
Professor Stokes said the GTP was already an important economic contributor to the region, injecting $14 million and 241 equivalent full-time jobs into the Geelong economy.
“Knowledge, innovation and research are sources of economic growth regionally, for the state and nationally,” he said. “The GTP is a significant driver for economic development.”
Professor Stokes said the new Future Design and Manufacturing facility would provide a platform for the growth of Deakin’s smart design and nano-manufacturing capability. It would also serve as the site for research activity in areas of national importance such as biotechnology, defence and aerospace.
“The facility will also house laboratories for bio-processing and for intelligent systems research in modelling and simulation, robotics, haptics and systems and signals,” Professor Stokes said.
“It will also enable the establishment of a state of the art metal powders laboratory critical for our research in high performance light metals, including novel bio materials.”
Professor Stokes said Deakin had been approached by a number of local, national and international companies interested in establishing themselves at the GTP. This new facility would allow negotiations to continue.
“Current work within the GTP focuses on Deakin's research strengths in materials sciences, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and intelligent systems. From wool-synthetic hybrid materials to robots for bomb disposal, from new light metals alloys for bone implants or cars to composite materials for aircraft, from searching for novel bioactive materials in foods to understanding oxidative stress in diabetes, Deakin has a commitment to undertaking research that matters,” he said.
Deakin University’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Rosenberg, also warmly welcomed the funding announcement.
“The GTP is the centre-piece of our plans to create an Australian version of Silicon Valley in Geelong,” Professor Rosenberg said.
“This exciting initiative, along with the redevelopment of the Dennys Lascelles Building at the Geelong Waterfront Campus and the commencement of our first intake of students to the Deakin Medical School, confirms Deakin’s reputation as a major Australian university that contributes to innovation and economic growth at a national, state and regional level.”