The University of Technology Sydney’s innovation credentials have been given a boost with the election of Business Council of Australia president Catherine Livingstone as chancellor.
Ms Livingstone, who has been chairman of the Telstra board since 2009, is among the highest profile technology and innovation sector executives in the country. She was a long-time chief executive at Cochlear during a period of stellar international growth, and has chaired the CSIRO from 2001 to 2006.
The UTS chancellor’s role will become vacant in February following the announcement earlier this year that Professor Vicki Sara would step down by then. Ms Livingstone will step into the role next December, with Deputy Chancellor, Brian Wilson, taking the Chancellor role for this interim period.
Ms Livingstone is known as one of the driving forces behind, not only boosting Telstra’s innovation credentials, but also dramatically changing the thinking inside the Business Council about the tech sector and innovation ecosystems.
She has been an outspoken advocate for improving Australia’s performance in producing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and was instrumental in ensuring the Chief Scientist Ian Chubb’s STEM proposals were publicly supported by the BCA.
UTS vice-chancellor Attila Brungs said the election would strengthen the UTS’ performance and commitment to working alongside business in R&D, as well as in creating the next generation of Australia’s skilled workforce.
“Catherine brings to UTS a vast wealth of knowledge and experience as a business leader at the highest level in Australia and internationally,” he said.
“This is combined with a deep understanding of the research environment here in Australia and a driving force behind our national understanding of innovation and its role in national prosperity,” he said.
“Catherine is one of Australia’s few great thought leaders. Her experience and insight will be invaluable to UTS and the higher education sector.”
Ms Livingstone said there were great opportunities presented by the technology changes sweeping the world that would only be realised if the university and business sectors could become better collaborators.
“This is a responsibility of both business and university, and will require a shift in mindset by both,” Ms Livingstone said in a statement. “This shift is already happening at UTS, and among their many partners in the Ultimo creative and start-up precinct. I am excited to be a part of that.”