Innovation Central Adelaide a high-tech treasure chest

Advanced digital design and visualisation technologies are at the heart of a landmark new initiative called Innovation Central Adelaide fittingly being launched virtually by Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price.

Jointly driven by Flinders University and global technology leader Cisco, Innovation Central Adelaide has been established at Flinders University’s new Digital Transformation Laboratory at the Tonsley Innovation District, also being opened by the Minister.

A space designed to nurture innovation and growth by solving real business problems for small and medium sized enterprises, Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says it represents the realisation of a national advanced technology network, complementing sister facilities in NSW, WA and Queensland.

‘The partnership between Flinders and Cisco expands the co-Innovation footprint of Innovation Centrals in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane, bringing together researchers and industry to facilitate collaboration and create opportunities to solve real world problems, through technology innovation,’ Professor Stirling says.

‘It further reinforces the world-class expertise that Flinders researchers are contributing to the evolution of advanced manufacturing in South Australia, supporting jobs and the economy.’

Flinders’ Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research Innovation Professor John Spoehr says Innovation Central Adelaide will provide a high-tech treasure chest to South Australian firms, and turbo charge students’ real-world learning.

“We have companies champing at the bit to do better, but they lack capacity” says Professor Spoehr.

Innovation Central Adelaide gives them that capacity, supporting them to apply cutting edge design processes, rapid prototyping, simulation, and high tech visualisation technologies that would otherwise be beyond their reach.

“In addition, companies will be able to use Innovation Central Adelaide to experiment with a range of robotics and automation technologies. Initial trials supported by the new facility will focus on collaboration systems, industrial networking, automation, industrial security, wireless systems and industrial sensor solutions.

Professor Spoehr says as part of a network similar facilities throughout Australia, Innovation Central Adelaide will support product and service development by facilitating the uptake of digital technologies in South Australian companies.

“This important collaboration is unlocking a treasure chest of technology which will help accelerate advanced manufacturing across our state” Professor Spoehr says.

“At the same time, it will equip students to be industry-ready with the digital skills required in the knowledge economy that help to solve real-world industry problems,” he adds.

Vice president of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, Ben Dawson.

Vice president of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, Ben Dawson says the partnership with Flinders University builds on Cisco’s ongoing commitment to innovation and research in Australia, and will see Flinders join the National Industry Innovation Network (NIIN), a Cisco-led industry and university alliance aimed at solving industry challenges through the adoption of technology solutions.

The NIIN is co-funded through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, a $61 million investment to accelerate Australia’s digital capabilities in industries of national significance.

“The partnership with Flinders University and Innovation Central Adelaide represents new research and innovation opportunities that will transform advanced manufacturing with the application of digital technologies to increase efficiencies and scale across industries. This world class co-innovation commitment furthers our collaborative approach to innovative teaching and learning and opens the door for world leading research.

“The National Industry Innovation Network is an alliance working on nationally significant projects including securing critical infrastructure, connected education, net zero and sustainability, digital health, and hybrid work, to realise digital opportunities that can benefit the whole country.

“At Cisco, we believe that industry has a key role collaborating with the education sector to ensure the latest thinking and insights are shared and developed into the curriculum, as well as furthering research and innovation to grow industry capabilities.

“By teaming with Flinders University and investing in Innovation Central Adelaide, we’re supporting the development of job-ready skills that are required today” Dawson says.

David Chuter, CEO and Managing Director of the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), sees Innovation Central and the Digital Transformation Laboratory as significant and important additions to the growing capability and capacity at Tonsley, helping to catalyse investment in technology through collaboration, particularly for Australian manufacturers to develop, scale up and realise their innovative business ideas.

“Tonsley is further building credentials as a leading design and manufacturing hub. Digital technologies are profoundly changing Australia’s industry sectors. By bringing together researchers and innovators from across the public and private sectors, this creates a space where those digital technologies can be explored, tested and applied to drive commercial opportunities and outcomes,” Mr Chuter says.

Innovation Central Adelaide is strengthening the University’s partnership with Cisco at Tonsley, which currently supports research on innovative health technologies including the delivery of safe Wi-fi for digital hospitals, led by Cisco Chair and Professor of Digital Health Systems at Flinders University, Professor Trish Williams.

Made possible by Cisco, Innovation Central Adelaide values the support and contribution of valued partners BAE Systems Maritime Australia, Baluff, Diversco, IFM, Igloo, Omron, Siemens, and Suba. Flinders University is proud to count the IMCRC as an esteemed collaborator.

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