UNSW and China’s prestigious Shanghai Jiao Tong University have increased the size of a joint investment fund designed to mobilise industry investment in research and tap into China’s rapidly rising demand for advanced technology.
Signed by UNSW and SJTU Presidents Ian Jacobs and Zhang Jie at a special ceremony in Shanghai, the agreement builds upon a two-year fund to establish a new Innovation Hub to position the research alliance at the forefront of China’s innovation system.
The new deal puts $1.5 million of new funding on the table to facilitate joint research with the goal of leveraging additional funding available through the Australian and Chinese Governments as well as industry partners.
The agreement follows SJTU’s introduction of the Easy Access IP system in a tie up with UNSW’s technology transfer office, which sees universities offer most of their intellectual property to industry for free in return for contract R&D investment.
UNSW became the first Australian university to adopt Easy Access IP following the recruitment of the system’s founder Dr Kevin Cullen to head up the University’s commercialisation offshoot UNSW Innovations.
“Since SJTU formally launched Easy Access IP with UNSW, over 30 new projects have been taken to Chinese industry in the space of less than 12 months. This is changing the way Chinese universities interact with industry and it is exciting that this innovation is being driven by an Australian university,” UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said.
“We see Easy Access IP as one way in which China can maximise the public return on its massive investment in R&D and higher education to deliver real social change.
“The OECD forecasts China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest investor in science, technology and research by 2019 and its R&D investment already equates to 2.2% of China’s GDP. This is likely to radically alter the size and shape of the world’s innovation system and Australia needs to be at the table if it is to maintain its position as a globally competitive knowledge power.
“The innovation agenda is at the heart of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s new narrative and the UNSW China story is an example of about how Australia can share in Asia’s promise,” Professor Jacobs said.