New Masters degree to prevent "idea drain"

Monday, 14 February 2000

The pacemaker, the 'black box' flight recorder, in vitro fertilisation, and refrigeration - how many Australians know that these world-famous innovations started right here in our own country?

When it comes to commercialising our great advances in science and technology, Australia is lagging well behind other nations, such as the US, at the potential cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

But this year, Adelaide University is looking to the future by launching a new Masters degree in Science & Technology Commercialisation.

The degree is the first of its kind in Australia. It is aimed at helping companies and individuals to "turn the tide", making Australia more internationally competitive and preventing the loss of hi-tech knowledge and products to overseas.

With an emphasis on practical skills, the Masters degree will teach students how to:

  • assess a technology for commercialisation
  • source appropriate funding and partnerships
  • build a business around the commercialised technology

"Students who go through this program will have a good theoretical knowledge of commercialisation. But more importantly, they will be able to do it," says the academic convener of the course, Professor Reg Coutts.

"We have a serious deficit of innovation and commercialisation skills in Australia at a time when knowledge is itself a booming industry. We've already fallen well behind other industrialised nations such as the US. With this new Masters degree, Adelaide University is doing something to address the problem."

The new course has been developed in collaboration with the University of Texas in Austin, which has a proven track-record in the development of knowledge-based industries.

Because of international links with universities in the US, Mexico and later Europe, South America and Asia, much of the course will be delivered using a mix of face-to-face education and hi-technology, such as the Internet and video-conferencing.

Students in Australia will work in teams with students from overseas, which in itself will be an invaluable learning experience.

Professor Coutts says there is no other educational program like this in Australia in content or objectives.

"With our close ties with the University of Texas we are essentially gaining knowledge about commercialisation from those who know it best ­ the Americans ­ and tailoring that knowledge to suit Australian conditions.

"What we're offering is something unique to business, government operations and individuals, by giving them the know-how to stop our best science and technology from disappearing overseas. And that's of great importance to the economic future of Australia."

The new Masters degree will be officially launched at Adelaide University on Wednesday, February 16, and the degree course will start in May 2000.

Information sessions about the new Masters degree are being held this month in most capital cities. For more information call (08) 8303 4777.


Contact Details

Professor Reg Coutts
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5075

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762