Kristin: Last night I presented our findings from a 12-month study Mapping Capability in Advanced Manufacturing R&D in SA. Bridge8 developed the definitions and framework and then surveyed both research and industry to better understand industry-research engagement, advanced manufacturing capabilities and future needs for South Australia. Over 100 people from industry, research institutions and government attended to hear the report summary, and to hear also different perspectives on advanced manufacturing R&D.
The project was sponsored by the State Government – through its Constellation SA ‘Research for Innovation’ initiative and its Centre for Innovation. Our report identifies the current advanced manufacturing research capabilities of 40 local enterprises and 19 faculties within the State’s three local universities.
The project has garnered media interest, being reported in The Advertiser and ABC Online. According to the SA Government press release, Science Minister Paul Caica says more collaboration between universities and industry will open up further opportunities for advanced manufacturing in the State. “The preliminary research has found that almost 50 percent of companies surveyed are engaged in R&D with universities and more would engage if pathways to link them with the research sector were accessible,” he said. “It’s also found that future opportunities for advanced manufacturing include clean technologies and alternative energies, mining, defence, health care and improving manufacturing processes.”
The State’s Chief Scientist, Dr Ian Chessell, will now move to establish a steering group comprising industry and researchers, potentially as part of an Advanced Manufacturing Alliance. Dr Chessell says such an alliance could assist in recommending priorities for the development of further research partnerships with industry and for facilitating cluster growth and development. “South Australia has many natural advantages lending itself to the application of clean energy technologies including geothermal and solar. In the development and deployment of these, there are major opportunities for the State’s advanced manufacturing sector”, Dr. Chessell said.
For us at Bridge8, there were two significant findings. The first was identifying a common language to describe and identify manufacturing capabilities across industry and universities. The second was uncovering a willingness and enthusiasm from many respondents regarding industry -research collaboration. Our data suggests there are tangible things the State Government might pursue to promote R&D and industry development in this sector. We look forward to finding specific ways to meet these innovation needs.