James Riley
November 25, 2015

UTS cranks its innovation engine

UTS cranks its innovation engine

Attila Brungs: Increasing emphasis on human-to-human connectivity in innovation

UTS Vice-Chancellor Attila Brungs will tonight unveil a new strategic plan for the university that broadens access to research facilities and labs for local startups and SMEs, driving better engagement between students, researchers and surrounding businesses.

It includes the creation of new innovation doctoral programs as well as a focus on entrepreneur, innovation and creativity studies across disciplines.

The Innovation and Creative Intelligence Strategy 2015-18 is the second part of a 10-year plan started in 2009. It aims to both, create students that are better equipped to deal with the workforce requirements of a period of significant disruption, as well as to drive innovation, business activity and jobs growth through the ecosystem emerging around the UTS precinct.

Professor Brungs will tell a gathering of UTS’ community and industry partners that the average young person in Australia is likely to have up to five career changes and 17 jobs in their lifetime.

They will enter the workforce at a time of rapid technology transformation. Up to 60 per cent of the jobs that students are currently studying for are likely to be automated in the future.

He will outline new strategic thinking in the four key areas of; Learning and educational experience; Research; Precinct and innovation ecosystem; and Engagement and partnerships.

Central to the thinking is the broadening of support infrastructure for innovation and entrepreneurialism, including the extension of programs that give students an underpinning to pursue business ideas. It also builds out the university’s collaboration and engagement mechanisms for the surrounding ecosystem.

Professor Brungs says human-scale connections are the heart of the UTS strategy. Of all the great innovation systems around the world – in Silicon Valley and in Israel and elsewhere – it is the connectedness of people from different parts of the system that makes the difference. And at the heart of these systems is a renowned and engaged university and research institution.

Among the many initiatives to be unveiled tonight include:

  • The development of new transdisciplinary degrees at both undergrad and postgrad levels in innovation, creativity and technology (an example is the upcoming Bachelor of Technology and Innovation)
  • The delivery of more short courses, electives and extracurricular programs that focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and design thinking
  • The creation of new prototyping labs and maker spaces
  • The development of new innovation doctoral programs, and an increase in innovation-focussed international research collaborations
  • Strategies for broadening access to UTS research facilities and labs – for startups and local SMEs
  • Increased focus on transdisciplinary research in health informatics, data science, sustainability, and future work and industry

Professor Brungs said the strategic plan included broad thinking about the surrounding ecosystem. The recently created UTS Piivot would lead and develop a precinct masterplan in collaboration with Arup, a firm of designers, planners, engineers and technical specialists.

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