UC branches out to Poplars Innovation Precinct at South Jerrabomberra

Michael Weaver 12 May 2021
David Harper, Tim Overall, David Maxwell, Professor Leigh Sullivan and Peter Tegart at the Poplars Innovation Precinct site at South Jerrabomberra

From left: Landowner David Harper; Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall; project director David Maxwell; University of Canberra deputy vice-chancellor Professor Leigh Sullivan; and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council CEO Peter Tegart at the site of the Poplars Innovation Precinct at South Jerrabomberra. Photo: Supplied.

The University of Canberra is branching out beyond its campus at Bruce to partner with Poplars Developments and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) at an innovation precinct at South Jerrabomberra, to explore a range of educational opportunities.

The university has signed a memorandum of understanding that will take advantage of the Poplars Innovation Precinct’s focus on connecting industry, research, learning and retail in one integrated development.

The Poplars Innovation Precinct is part of broader development at South Jerrabomberra that was unveiled in November 2019 amid bushfires that were buffeting a dry and barren landscape. Now, there is already a number of retail outlets onsite with further plans for housing and the new Jerrabomberra High School.

The University of Canberra is the first educational institution to partner with the innovation precinct that will be home to industries such as defence, space, cybersecurity, information technology and scientific research sectors.

Opportunities exist for student mentoring, internships and research opportunities that support businesses in the precinct, such as the delivery of allied health services, plus research and rehabilitation opportunities for elite athletes and defence personnel.

The precinct will also foster relationships with the new Jerrabomberra High School and current primary school within the development.

Masterplan for Poplars Innovation Precinct at South Jerrabomberra

A masterplan for the Poplars Innovation Precinct at South Jerrabomberra. Image: Supplied.

The memorandum of understanding will allow the University of Canberra to provide opportunities for students and researchers to access leading national and international companies, as well as to undertake studies in and around the precinct including the surrounding Poplars Grassland conservation area.

University of Canberra’s deputy vice-chancellor, research and innovation Professor Leigh Sullivan said the partnership will enhance the university’s research capabilities for students, staff and external stakeholders.

“Those living within the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council area will have access to our services on their doorstep,” he said.

“At the same time, it provides new linkages and opportunities for our students and researchers with the global businesses located in the Poplars Innovation Precinct which are looking to engage skilled staff.

“We are excited to work with Poplars and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council on developing future collaborations within this expansive development that will explore concepts capable of changing the future of the capital region.”

Poplars is also working with the Wandiyali Restoration Trust to ensure important ecological areas are conserved and linked with other areas in the region.

Poplars director David Maxwell said the partnership with the University of Canberra is another step in their vision for Poplars to bring together community, business, research and education to support innovation and job creation in the region.

“We are thrilled to announce this trilateral memorandum of understanding between Poplars, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and the University of Canberra,” he said. “Not only will it strengthen educational and research outcomes for the region, it will provide unique connections and access for businesses within the Poplars Innovation Precinct.”


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Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Tim Overall said he is excited at the prospects the partnership presents for the community.

“In March, the NSW Government declared South Jerrabomberra and Poplars as one of four regional jobs precincts,” he said.

“As a regional jobs precinct, specialist planners will be assigned to work with council to help refine processes to fast-track the ability to collaborate with different parts of government to create new jobs and enable industries to expand in the region.

“This valuable partnership between the University of Canberra, Poplars and council help bring us closer to the vision of a precinct that focuses on defence, space, cybersecurity, information technology and scientific research sectors.

“It’s an ideal location for a partnership of this nature to flourish and deliver fantastic educational outcomes.”


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