Curtin University looks to the future
How do you plan the university of the future? It’s a question that many of Australia’s leading tertiary institutions would be asking themselves as lifestyles and work practices rapidly evolve.
Preparing students to be competent members of the greater social construct isn’t so easy. It requires a vision for the future, which is why Curtin University has hatched the Curtin Master Plan and Vision for 2030 as an extension of its commitment to innovation.
The Master Plan is designed to showcase knowledge, create vibrant communities and stimulate economic activity. As part of the Master Plan, Curtin’s main Perth campus is being further developed as an important economic and innovative hub.
It is hoped that this plan will
capitalise on Curtin University’s standing as a vital cog amongst the largest concentration of innovative industry and research in Western Australia.
“The university has for some time been focused on how it positions itself to be a core part of the major innovation ecosystem of the future. The product of this thinking is what we now call Greater Curtin,” says ViceChancellor Deborah Terry.
Professor Terry joined Curtin as Vice-Chancellor in 2014, following a 24-year career at the University of Queensland and knows a thing or two about innovation in the tertiary system.
She has a list of accolades to her name including an Order of Australia, but it is her position on the Board of the Committee for Perth and AARNET, the provider of Australia’s network infrastructure for education and research, that really highlights hers and the University’s commitment to strengthening economic and social prosperity.
“By opening up the north part of our large Perth campus, the Greater Curtin development is designed to create an environment for industry, academia and the community to better collaborate, to innovate, and to drive the advances so essential to our transforming economy,” Professor Terry says.
“Greater Curtin incorporates the elements that we know are critical to delivering on the vision of transforming the campus into a vibrant innovation ecosystem: transport accessibility; student and other short-term accommodation, meeting facilities and appropriate retail.
“Add to the mix an industry engaged, collaborative university and you have all the ingredients that we hope will attract our partners and collaborators to colocate with us on campus.
“Universities need to play a critical part in creating a connected innovation ecosystem, at the same time as providing students with a rich and engaging campus environment that helps to build their graduate capabilities.”
The current master plan is designed to deliver on the University’s vision of being a leader in this respect. At the same time, it should provide students with the experiences that will position them for future success, through their use of new co-working spaces, entrepreneurial opportunities, and links with researchers and partners.
Western Australia seems the perfect place to make this happen.
We all know Western Australia as the hub of Australia’s resources industry. Even in the current resources downturn, which now seems to be reversing, the sector plays a vital role in the Western Australian economy.
Yet, in the downturn, other industries have come to the fore that are fully aligned with the University’s research and innovation goals.
“Curtin is on an impressive upward trajectory. We want to build on this position in the future. We have built up significant strengths in science and engineering, many of which involve deep and longstanding industry partnerships.
“Our strengths align with the major pillars of WA’s economy, including both resources and agriculture, and we pride ourselves on being collaborative and easy for industry to interact with.”
Curtin is also broadening its research profile beyond its traditional areas of strength.
“We have major capabilities across a wide range of areas, including those that are so critical to our future, such as digital agriculture; defence and international security; big data; applied economics; clinical health trials, and a leading involvement in one of the 21st century’s largest scientific projects, the Square Kilometre Array.
Curtin has a strong partnership with Bankwest through the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, now a well-regarded economic think tank located within the University’s Faculty of Business and Law.
The University also hosts Innovation Central Perth, which connects companies with technology solutions and subjectmatter experts from Cisco, and research expertise and intellectual property from Curtin, Woodside and Data61.
The collaboration is designed to deliver digital and data-driven solutions to business imperatives and challenges.
Curtin’s other partners are broad and include Alcoa, The Cancer Foundation, Fremantle Dockers, NASA, BHP and Woodside.
BHP and Woodside are more traditional resource industry partners and have worked closely with Curtin’s Western Australian School of Mines, which Professor Terry says is an important part of the University.
Vice Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry AO