RESEARCH CAN DRIVE PROSPERITY
GREATER prosperity is ours if we meet Tasmania’s research needs, says an academic whose contribution to industry development is worth frothing over.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Anthony Koutoulis may not be solely responsible for the irresistible taste of Tassie craft beer, but he is well known for his fruitful collaboration with the state’s hops industry over 20 years.
Now he is helping to drive the university’s mission to forge more such partnerships.
“We have a responsibility to deliver on the research needs of Tasmania,” he said.
“We are the university for Tasmania, not of Tasmania.
“This how we have framed it in the past, though we have always had a practice of doing this kind of research.
“Now we are sending a strong signal that from a strategic perspective we will have an increased focus on meeting the needs of Tasmania.” That commitment aligned with the university’s understanding of its future as a place-based, globally connected institution.
“These terms are critical,” Mr Koutoulis said. “Research is an international endeavour — and should be — and our place-based research will be of world-class quality, which is what we need for this state.”
Understanding and amplifying the strengths of that distinctiveness to be globally competitive was what we should be focusing on in whatever way we could.
“Getting back to language, we talk about a university for Tasmania, and a university from Tasmania to the world.
“This speaks of making contributions both in Tasmania and nationally and internationally.”
Prof Koutoulis said Hobart’s Antarctic gateway city function showed how academic research could partner with other institutions and agencies to make substantial contributions to Antarctic science and policy.
Defence, space and agriculture research all showed vast potential for boosting prosperity through research.
“We are trying to see what our regional advantages might be in these and other industries.
While the university would always do fundamental bluesky research, he said UTAS wanted to make a bigger contribution to current needs through applied research.
Professor Koutoulis’s experience partnering in research and development with Hops Products Australia over many years had yielded more than just good beer, with Tasmania today providing about half the national hops harvest.
“They value research, they commit to it,” he said. “If they don’t invest in it, they don’t stay ahead of the game.”