Thebarton: success through innovation
Adelaide University Research Park at Thebarton is a fascinating place. Located on the banks of the Torrens River, and just 4km from Adelaide's city centre, it provides office space to highly motivated and innovative individuals who are industry leaders in a number of areas.
This issue of Lumen highlights two Thebarton success stories, Scan Optics and Community Capacity Builders.
The Thebarton precinct--different from the rest of the University in its proximity to industrial activities and provision of incubator facilities--has resulted in the creation of a unique culture.
The precinct has developed a successful suite of programs designed to foster collaboration, entrepreneurial enterprise, and closer links with communities and industry, specifically for the purpose of education and service provision.
This meets important objectives of not only increasing cultural and social capital, but also driving innovative economic development.
The programs at Thebarton help faculties to enjoy relationships with business and the wider community, and to stimulate greater levels of enterprise and economic growth for the State.
As one of the premier University-owned technology/research parks in Australia, the Research Park is also a physical base that develops student projects and student skills into new business enterprises.
The Industry Linked Programs match graduates with small to medium companies to develop specific projects under the guidance of an academic supervisor. The Graduate Entrepreneurial Programs help graduates to develop skills in entrepreneurship and innovation around a core of their own knowledge-based businesses.
The criteria for occupancy at the Research Park are based upon a tenant's ability to enter a useful association with the University of Adelaide. This may involve participation in cooperative education and postgraduate student programs, joint research activities with members of University staff, and provision of work experience to students. In turn, tenants are encouraged to utilise University facilities and expertise.
The Research Park is home to the University's Office of Industry Liaison and hosts a range of applied research activities in engineering, the physical sciences and occupational health.
Commercial enterprises at the Research Park include businesses involved in materials engineering, biotechnology, environmental services, information technology, industrial design, laser/optics technology, health products, engineering services, radar systems, telecommunications and petroleum services.
With the development by the State Government (through Bio Innovation SA) of new Bioscience and Biotechnology Precincts that adjoin the Research Park, the creation of a dynamic 'Thebarton Innovation Hub' has the potential to become a reality.
In keeping with the innovative theme at Thebarton, the Thebarton Business & Research Alliance provides a united marketing entity to showcase member capabilities to the local, national and international business communities.
All enterprises located within the Thebarton Innovation Hub belong to the Alliance.
"Members meet for monthly networking events and the Alliance is proving extremely popular and enhancing our profile in the community," says Kankana McPherson, Alliance organiser and coordinator of the Graduate Entrepreneurial Programs.
The recently launched website www.thebartonalliance.com.au offers potential clients easy access to the capabilities of Alliance members and to stories of their recent successes. ■
Story Howard Salkow