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Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation Researchers in Business Round Table

Researchers in Business Round Table
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation
The National Wine and Grape Industry Training Centre
Pugsley Place, Charles Sturt University
Wagga Wagga NSW 2650
February 8, 2017, 10am - 2pm

Background

The Business/Higher Education Round Table (B/HERT) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that was established in 1990 to promote productive collaboration between universities and the private sector.Its membership base comprises the majority of Australian universities, companies and professional associations.

B/HERT works to facilitate productive engagement between the sectors and conducts round tables, forums and events to promote collaboration.Many of these discussions have dealt with the employability of university graduates and their work readiness in making the transition to employment.Australia’s research training program is strong and is best illustrated by our research standing among OECD countries.Australia ranks highly in terms of citations and quality of publications which indicates quality research output and international recognition.Yet, in contrast to other countries, Australian research graduates express dismay at their perceived unsuitability for employment in industry. Australia has one of the lowest numbers of researchers employed in business enterprises in developed nations (3 researchers in business per 1000 workers compared to 14 in Finland and 7 in Canada). Both the federal and NSW governments acknowledge that poor participation of researchers in business is an impediment to innovation and must be overcome for future industries to thrive.

CSU is committed to quality and excellence in supporting collaborative and interdisciplinary research to address the complex challenges facing local communities and national industries.The university’s designated research centres solve real problems of end users by applying up-to-date industry knowledge and expertise.

Round Table Program Objectives

Agriculture is a pillar of the Australian economy and with enormous opportunities as the Asian middle class continues to grow and the demand for food increases significantly.As the market expands so does the competition and Australia must capitalise on its strong positon as a world leader in industry research and research training to capture growing demand.CSU has made significant investments in agriculture to encourage translation of research by establishing the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC), in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries (NSW). This is about transforming the industry into a productive and globally competitive sector through the application of twenty-first century technology and innovation.

This round table invited business and industry to draw on the research strengths of the Graham Centre by becoming involved in the PhD training program through flexible industry placement opportunities.The objective was aligned to CSU’s partnership approach where researchers can deal directly with industry challenges and achieve mutual benefits. End user partners likely to benefit from this industry placement program include government agencies, NGO’s, community groups, SMEs and global corporations.

Research placements in industry represent the way forward in meeting impending commercial and social challenges by connecting commercial activities with cutting edge research and researchers. Significant input from higher education is essential to compete in an environment that now relies heavily on innovation as the means to compete globally.

The Graham Centre conducts research aimed at improving sustainability and profitability of an industry traditionally deemed high risk. The Centre is designed to attract leading collaborators and engage new talent by including opportunities for industry placements, research fellowships and higher degree research scholarships, providing a pipeline for the nurturing of future talented scientists.

Placements may concentrate on individual skills of value to the business or apply the candidate’s expertise in research.There is no standard model for the program other than securing PhD placements for business that satisfy partner requirements.Each placement will be developed jointly by the parties to suit the particular needs of the business. Desired outcomes will be identified prior to the commencement of the placement and examples include the following:

Desirable Employer Outcomes

  • Access to researchers with high level skills who can contribute expertise and new ideas;
  • Opportunity for business problem-solving and innovation;
  • Future recruitment opportunities;
  • Industry development at both national and international scale.

     

Desirable Student Outcomes

  • Capable and confident researchers working with end-users from industry, government and community;
  • Entrepreneurial and business-aware postgraduates;
  • Effective contributors to interdisciplinary research investigations; and
  • Enhanced employability skills and increased competitiveness in the marketplace.

Desirable University Outcomes

  • Enhanced postgraduate training program and student satisfactionby integrating end-users in scoping PhD research projects and creating active roles in supervision, advising, and mentoring our research students;
  • Students develop a portfolio of business and transferable skills of relevance to our knowledge-based enterprise economy;
  • Broaden research students’ focus on entrepreneurship and innovation;
  • Greater emphasis on research activity that reflects state and national priorities and global challenges;
  • Practical and valuable engagement with employers;
  • Enhanced partnerships in teaching and research.

The Graham Centre focuses on addressing real world issues and partnering with industry and end-users, providing industry with the right destination to work on improvements, innovations and breakthroughs. This form of partnership is essential in supporting a sustainable economic future for agriculture on regional, national and international levels.The round table demonstrated how programs such as this lead to innovation in industry.

The agenda can be downloaded here.

Presentation slides by A/Prof Gethin Thomas

Presentation slides by Prof Chris Blanchard

Presentation slides by Qura tul Ain Raiz

Presentation slides by Michelle Toutounji

 

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