Those who work here know that UNSW is a hotbed of creativity and new ways of thinking; they were among the characteristics of the University that drew me here. From powering our future and providing clean drinking water to developing lifesaving HIV drugs and cancer therapies, UNSW research innovations have changed our world today and are helping pave the way to an even better tomorrow. I want to explore how we, as staff, can push ourselves even further and how we can boost the culture of innovation among our students.
These articles showcase the many initiatives underway to create and enhance this culture. The cover story details the amazing work of our Paul Trainor Chair in Biomedical Engineering, Professor Melissa Knothe Tate. Melissa was recruited to Australia and UNSW to help revitalise the country’s medical devices industry. After only two years in the position, her ‘Google Maps for the body’ technology and her futuristic ‘living loom’ are examples of disruptive technologies in the true sense of the term, and are an inspiration to staff and students alike.
As part of our strategic consultation process, UNSW is looking at ways to support innovative work like Melissa’s and to create a dynamic entrepreneurial and startup community. Crucially, we also want to connect students with industry, government and NGOs to improve their experience, employability and capacity to become the innovators and research partners of the future. Your ideas will help shape how we move forward in this area.
While entrepreneurial outcomes are highly desirable and should be encouraged, we must not forget that many of our graduates will never launch a startup, but instead become what are known as ‘intrapreneurs’, who make a difference and institute change from the inside, in industry, government and the not-for-profit sector.
This is why the new Michael Crouch Innovation Centre is so important – it will change mindsets and turn every student who walks through its doors into an innovator. The centre will build on the excellent work by UNSW Innovations, and faculty initiatives, that are already yielding benefits. It will be a focal point on campus for ideas that can have a worldwide impact.
I hope you find the coverage of innovation in this issue as interesting and as exciting as I do.