University wins $100 million funding bonanza
Apr 19, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
The University of NSW has won $30 million in Chinese investment for research projects and a new innovations hub with another $70 million expected to flow from further investment over time.
The deal was signed in a ceremony witnessed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday.
Under the agreement between UNSW and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the ministry will set up one of its Torch innovation precincts in Sydney, the first ever to be established outside China.
In the first stage of the partnership, eight Chinese companies will invest $30 million in research and development at UNSW in areas including advanced materials, biotechnology, energy and environmental engineering.
One of the companies, a subsidiary of the Fuchunjiang Communication Group, is aiming to commercialise power cable technology developed by UNSW which transmits electricity at greater efficiency than conventional cable.
Vice-chancellor Ian Jacobs said the Chinese partner companies would take products to market which were developed from UNSW research, with the university retaining a share of the intellectual property and benefiting from returns.
Professor Jacobs is confident the investment will “easily reach $100 million” and could grow beyond that.
"They look to match the expertise we have at UNSW with the expertise these companies need," he said.
"As it develops I would like it to expand and get Australian companies and other universities involved."
Professor Jacobs said China's 150 Torch precincts are the driving force behind innovation in the country, currently generating seven per cent of the country's GDP, ten per cent of industrial output and 16 per cent of exports.
The first group of Chinese companies will set up in an ‘incubator’ space on the university's Kensington campus, with the precinct predicted to spread to nearby areas and ultimately relocate to the bay area on Sydney Harbour or to western Sydney.
He said the new agreement grew out of the university's long relationship with China through teaching Chinese students.
"This is about future proofing our national competitiveness by strategically positioning Australia as China becomes the world's largest investor in R&D," Professor Jacobs said.
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