UNSW Canberra launches new collaboration space for defence and technology businesses

Ian Bushnell 17 February 2020
UNSW Canberra Rector Michael Frater and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr

UNSW Canberra Rector Michael Frater and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr at Launch on Northbourne, the university’s new collaborative work initiative catering to businesses in the technology and defence sectors. Photo: Supplied.

University of NSW Canberra has taken the next step in expanding its presence in the national capital with the opening on Northbourne Avenue of a new collaborative workspace dedicated to the defence, technology and security industries.

Called, appropriately enough, Launch on Northbourne, it will bring together industry, government and academia with three floors of secure workspaces, private offices, meeting and presentation rooms and event spaces to grow innovation and capability in the defence and security sectors, including a cohort of start-ups.

UNSW Canberra Rector Michael Frater said Launch on Northbourne was designed to build relationships between these stakeholders and to be a central part of Canberra’s growing innovation ecosystem.

“Canberra presents a unique environment. In addition to hosting a wide range of educational institutions, it is also home to the largest concentration of defence and national security agencies, assets diplomatic networks, and industrial organisations in Australia,” he said.

Professor Frater said the space would allow universities and small business to work together to build innovative products.

He said small business needed networks to grow and precincts like this allowed it to interact with others in like industries.

There would also be opportunities for students to work in the businesses involved to further develop their skills.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the sectors involved represented $6 billion of the ACT’s $30 billion state gross product and 40,000 jobs, second only to the Commonwealth and ACT public services.

Mr Barr said he was personally committed to a rapid expansion of these sectors and Launch on Northbourne fitted perfectly with the ACT Government’s growth agenda.

“It’s a very smart and strategic move on behalf of UNSW, and highlights the importance of tertiary education in the city,” he said.

Mr Barr said the new precinct would contribute to the diversification of the ACT economy and help create the sorts of jobs that appealed to not only university graduates but also VET graduates because of the technical skills required.

The ACT Government continues to talk with UNSW about plans for developing a campus in Reid on Constitution Avenue, particularly when CIT moves to the new Woden campus announced recently.


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