Imagine a place where people in South West Sydney come together to talk about their ideas: a place that harnesses their knowledge and experience with the ultimate aim of generating innovation. And most importantly, a place where the goal of innovation is to improve the health of the local community and beyond.
This “place” is real. No longer just a concept, the Liverpool Innovation Precinct promises to be that place.
But first a note about what the word ‘place’ actually means.
Lance Chia, Liverpool Innovation Precinct Manager, explains that an innovation precinct is not defined by geography but is an organic entity bringing researchers, educators and industry together for the united purpose of innovation. Nine* organisations, across health, education and research, have partnered together to create the precinct and are working towards this united vision.
Despite not having all the pieces in place, the work of the precinct is up and running with a number of exciting initiatives on their way.
Lance is currently working on developing accelerator programs that will teach people who have an idea or who have developed a technology, how best to commercialise that idea/technology.
“This is especially important because of where a lot of our innovation will come from, which will be researchers, medicos and people who are not used to being in a commercial marketing customer-centric environment.”
“The accelerator programs will cover everything that is needed to commercialise a technology. Some of the topics will include funding, regulatory environment, equity structures, customer needs, marketing channels and business structures,” he explains.
Lance envisages the program’s development will be complete by mid-year with the first intake of course participants to commence shortly after.
“It will be exciting to offer these programs, because up until now, there hasn’t been anything of this quality in South West Sydney.”
Establishing a digital tech health lab
Lance’s vision for the precinct includes a digital health lab, a physical space where identified problems are solved with digital solutions.
“There is not one aspect of health or medicine that you can’t attach digital technology to, so it’s important for us to develop that capability,” Lance explains.
There has also been considerable international interest in the precinct as well as interest from Australian start-ups.
“We’ve talked to a range of different start-ups who are all interested in what we’re doing and how they can be involved,” says Lance.
“The range of start-ups has been quite diverse. We’ve talked to people with start-ups ranging from mental health technologies and digital yoga programs to technologies that convert MRI and CT data into 3D virtual reality models which surgeons can work on prior to actual surgery.”
Lance believes that there is a critical need for a co-working space for start-ups which is one of the goals of the precinct along with the digital health lab.
Connecting with industry players
The precinct may be in its early days but plans are already underway to attract industry to the precinct which will help with generating and commercialising the developed technologies.
“There are many ways an industry player can be involved with the precinct including partnering with certain elements, for example, by being involved in the digital health lab, or co-locating their office or part of their business in the precinct. Doing these things allows them to be close to focused research and provides them with access to new and innovative technologies,” says Lance.
Monthly networking opportunities to help drive collaboration and innovation
The precinct plans to hold monthly networking opportunities where people who have ideas can meet, talk about their ideas, their problems and then collaborate on solutions.
“We want to create an environment for things to happen. When enough people get together, it generates discussion and collaboration which then drives innovation,” says Lance.
Providing benefits to the community
The benefits to the local community in South West Sydney are numerous.
“Ultimately, we will create new businesses and new technologies which will, in turn, create new jobs. At the same time, new technologies will help improve the health of the community, and if we can address health problems in our community, then the spin off from that is it will help other communities with similar health concerns,” explains Lance.
“The biggest sign of success will be when people outside the region want to come to Liverpool to work here and be part of this exciting innovation precinct.”
* Liverpool Innovation Precinct Partners:
- South West Sydney Local Health District
- Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research
- Liverpool City Council
- Western Sydney University
- University of Wollongong
- TAFE NSW
- Department of Education
For more information, watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxMPoE06OxE
SWSR looks forward to continuing to bring our members the latest news from the Liverpool Innovation Precinct.
By Linda Music