International Women's Day: women take charge in science commercialisation

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Breaking with the tradition of purely academic research, four female scientists studying for a Masters degree at the University of Adelaide are at the forefront of developing science into commercial enterprise.

These innovative women - Dr Alexandra Bush, Dr Stephanie Agius, Ms Cheryl Pope and Ms Bernadette Swart - are undertaking the University of Adelaide's Master of Science & Technology Commercialisation degree.

Run by the University's Education Centre for Innovation and Commercialisation (ecic), this program is the first of its kind in Australia.

The efforts of these four women and their colleagues at the University of Adelaide aim to give Australia a competitive edge in a global market place.

Dr Alexandra Bush, Research Scientist with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), has been chosen by the Cooperative Research Centre for Welded Structures (CRC-WS), to advise on the commercialisation of its technologies. (The University is a core participant of the CRC.)

"What I hope to achieve is to effectively and efficiently convert scientific innovation for greater economic and social benefit," Dr Bush says.

Another of ecic's Masters students, Dr Stephanie Agius, has had an extensive international research career, and has recently been appointed the Commercialisation Officer for the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (based at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus).

"One of the Centre's core competitive advantages lies in the ability to develop and implement its innovation, and the Masters of Science & Technology Commercialisation provides me with the knowledge vital to accelerating the commercialisation process," Dr Agius says.

Fellow peer Ms Cheryl Pope is the project manager at the Australian Sheep Industry CRC, and is equally aware that the health of the nation's innovation landscape is dependent on the commercial training of researchers.

"It's so obvious. We need this course to make scientists aware that their research results can become a commercial reality," Ms Pope says.

Child and Health Research Institute's Ms Bernadette Swart, like many of these women, holds down a full-time job and has family commitments as well as devoting time to postgraduate study with the ecic.

"I believe that scientists today need to balance fundamental research interests with commercial awareness," she says. "You need to wear both a scientist's cap and a business cap."

Fostering these skills in entrepreneurship and the commercialisation of innovation, ecic is a new and unique postgraduate school within the University of Adelaide.

"Wealth creation, long-term economic growth and social wellbeing all depend on bringing new technologies to fruition, doing it quickly, doing it well," says ecic's Acting Director Mr Antonio Dottore.

The graduate school also has a "footprint" on the Australian Technology Park in Sydney, where it offers articulated programs to Masters in Project Management through Professor Vernon Ireland.


Contact Details

Mr Antonio Dottore
Deputy Director
Education Centre for Innovation & Commercialisation
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8222 9206

Dr Stephanie Agius
Commercialisation Officer
Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics
Business: +61 8 8313 7180
Mobile: +61 424 051 339

Ms Cheryl Pope
Project Manager
Australian Sheep Industry CRC
Business: +61 2 6391 3948
Mobile: +61 428 435 593

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