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Explore Innovation and R&D in Regional NSW
Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development

Get in touch

Innovative research and industry clusters

Innovative research and industry clusters

Image credit: Dee Kramer Photography

Our aim is to start the ideas that will shape tomorrow and develop them into commercial reality, right here in Regional NSW.

That’s why our clusters provide the ideal platform for business and researchers to collaborate on overcoming today’s greatest challenges. Some of our successful and growing partnerships include:

  • Wagga Wagga Agricultural Technology Hub. Based on the Murrumbidgee River, this agtech cluster comprises Agrifutures Australia, the Graham Centre and Charles Sturt University.

  • South East Region’s Renewable Energy Excellence (SERREE). This industry cluster is supported by the NSW, ACT and Australian Governments and boasts more than 1,000 members.

  • University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus. The campus undertakes research in close collaboration with local industries and business. It specialises in research and innovation in polymers and superconducting, as well as electronic materials, sustainable buildings, oceans research and security and health.

  • University of Newcastle Defence Security and Innovation Cluster. This cluster operates close to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Williamtown and the Australian Army’s Lone Pine Barracks at Singleton. Cluster companies provide maintenance, repair and overhaul, electronics, manufacturing, maritime sustainment, repair and training services.

  • Albatross Aviation Technology Park. Adjoining the airfield at HMAS Albatross, home of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, this cluster is designed specifically to support the defence and aviation industries. It includes member companies such as Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin Australia, BAE Systems Australia and Air Affairs.

  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Australia’s national science research agency has seven centres across Regional NSW.

  • NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI). The largest provider of science and research services in the NSW Government, NSW DPI has 25 research stations in Regional NSW, employs 650 scientific staff and maintains 13,000 hectares of agricultural trial sites. NSW DPI scientists have been ranked in the top 1% of world research institutions in agricultural science, and plant and animal science.

  • Global Ag-Tech Ecosystem (GATE). Based in Orange, GATE offers an end-to-end ecosystem for incubating, accelerating, investing in and commercialising agricultural technology ideas and businesses.

  • CSIRO Energy Centre. Located in Newcastle, this innovative research centre aims to help transform Australia’s electricity networks and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

  • NSW Cyber Security Innovation Node. The knowledge hub for the cyber security industry in NSW and part of a national network to accelerate growth in the sector, including the University of Wollongong and the University of Newcastle.

  • Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources. Attached to the University of Newcastle, the institute takes a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing challenges associated with energy and resources infrastructure, including sustainability, productivity and competitiveness.
  • National Marine Science Centre (NMSC). Located in Coffs Harbour, NMSC is part of the School of Environment, Science and Engineering at Southern Cross University. The focus is to produce high impact research that addresses issues relating to the resilience of marine ecosystems and resources. To achieve this, the team of researchers foster extensive collaboration with industry and academia, encourage graduate students and foster engagement with the public and policy makers.

Major educational institutions with campuses in Regional NSW

An environment of higher learning

Regional NSW is home to several universities, each of which has its own research and teaching specialties.

Throughout our region a large community of academics and scientists supports businesses and industry.

Major universities and institutes with a presence in Regional NSW include:

  • University of New England
  • University of Newcastle (ranked in the top 350 globally)
  • University of Wollongong (ranked in the top 250 globally)
  • Southern Cross University
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Deakin University
  • University of Sydney (Rural School of Health).

Regional NSW also has extensive vocational education and training facilities, including 350 private registered training providers and 100 Technical and Further Education (TAFE) NSW campuses.

The NSW Government has committed an additional $8 million to expand the Country Universities Centres initiative. This allows regional students to study tertiary qualifications from their hometown, with affiliate centres located at:

  • Broken Hill, Central West region
  • Cooma and Goulburn, South East and Tablelands region
  • Grafton, North Coast region
  • Narrabri and Moree, New England and North West region
  • Griffith and Leeton, Riverina Murray region.

A dedicated and dynamic regional workforce

A dedicated and dynamic regional workforce

Regional NSW has a highly skilled and educated population.

No less than 58.3% of the entire adult workforce has a university education. It is also rich in science-based talent. After all, of the region’s university graduates:

  • 22% have a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) qualification
  • 10% have a health qualification, and
  • 4% have an agricultural qualification.

We’re proud that so many high performers, leaders and entrepreneurs choose to call Regional NSW home. This includes 2018 NSW Regional Woman of the Year, Juliet Duffy, founding Director of Regional EnviroScience and expert in occupational and environmental hygiene.

Government assistance for partnerships in Regional NSW

Government assistance for partnerships in Regional NSW

Image credit: Treasury NSW

The NSW and Australian Governments offer a range of government programs and initiatives to support innovation and research and development partnerships:

  • Boosting Business Innovation Program - This A$18 million program encourages collaboration between NSW research organisations and business communities.

  • TechVouchers - These amounts of up to $15,000 are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible NSW companies to help them collaborate with Boosting Business Innovation Program delivery partners.

  • Research and Development Tax Incentive - Refundable tax offsets are available for eligible company research and development activities.

  • Cooperative Research Centres - The Australian Government-funded Cooperative Research Centres Program supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community.

  • Industry Growth Centres - The Australian Government funds six Industry Growth Centres aimed at driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness across specific sectors.

  • Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer - This NSW Government advisory position aims to foster and encourage a lively state innovation system, particularly by promoting productive links between business, the professions, universities and government. The office engages in research and development initiatives in energy technology, robotics, biotechnology, eResearch, health and medical research.

Get in touch

Explore Innovation and R&D in Regional NSW

The Office of Regional Economic Development and its network of 14 offices can provide advice on partnering opportunities in Regional NSW.

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development
Office contacts
Suite 1, Level 1
47-59 Wingewarra Street
DUBBO NSW 2830
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