Table of contents:
Macquarie University is a bustling research university in the city of Sydney, Australia with over 40,000 students and 2000 staff. The university is located near the Macquarie Park business district with a campus component in the Sydney Central Business District and online learning offerings. Macquarie University maintains a vision to empower students, as evident by its slogan “You to the power of Us”. Fostering Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) is one of the university’s many student development plans, as shown by increasing investment in the sector from the school.
Actively supporting the university technology transfer function
For students committed to licensing their innovation, ample support is available at Macquarie University, albeit rather exclusive. I&E assistance of this kind seems relatively new and limited to department staff & associates. For venture accelerators, the university incubator offers programs to its start-up residents (Start-Up Residents Program), Higher Degree Research students (HDR Expansivity) and spin-off companies that can house students’ innovation (Celosia Therapeutics). Seed funding from Macquarie University is available for research - based ideas such as Space Qualification of Gallium Nitride Power Amplifiers and Laser Heterodyne Radiometer Development Towards Future Spaceflight. The university’s tech transfer office, grant writing, legal and other venture assistance are offered to relevant department staff. For example, information for the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (relevant for conducting business with goods and technology) is available in the “Staff” sections of the university website. The university’s Legal Services Department offers legal assistance to staff within the department.
Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Macquarie University is a relatively new university that has a traditional sense, however, incorporates modern ways to inspire students’ creativity and innovation. Macquarie has created a separate entity that has its own space called the Macquarie Incubator to enable a safe and productive place to provide focus for students and other academics to think creatively and with a purpose to solve real world issues that everyone faces. Melanie Lewis, who runs the educational activities for the incubator has created multiple programs for all types of students to ensure they are provided with the skills necessary to actively think from different perspectives.
One program that is proving popular to the undergraduates is the Design Thinking Program, which is a program that is an intensive week-long course to provide students with the opportunity to critically analyse a problem and find solutions to the analysis. Waste management was the main issue around campus that was the focal point of the program, which proved successful; they decided to extend the program to the following year.
Another program that the incubator facilitates is the Pitch Program, which enables students to understand the power of ‘short but sweet’ pitches. Entrepreneurs and design thinkers alike need to be able to convince potential stakeholders or future customers on why they should choose their product over the competition, and that’s what this program will endeavour to provide students. This has also been successfully implemented as they run it four times a year.
Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship
As Macquarie University has created the Incubator as the hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, they also have built a central courtyard building that hosts everything from food court, pool tables, lake views, study spaces, and classrooms. This enables students to see what can happen with limited space and creativity, with the architectural designs that are engraved everywhere you look in the building and, in the courtyard, this will provide students with innovative ideas for whatever the situation.
Although Macquarie is a university, and will build innovative spaces for students, they are traditionalists, where they have an office of Commercialisation and Innovation which allows ideas to be formed into a business legally. This ensures they support, whilst still aiming to make profits over the ideas. This is a hybrid mindset that has its pros and cons, moreover, it supports students and start-up residents conclusively without impeding the process, however, they still are in it for the long-term profits.
Facilitating university-industry collaboration
At Macquarie university commercialised entity continue and adapt innovation to marketplace needs. Commencing students are unaware of the market needs so for then this is the best opportunity to come up with ideas and discuss with the help of different programs. Some of them are peer mentor programs which help students to understand university better. Macquarie co-funding is an amazing way to apply your research knowledge with the help of some grants so that money should not be the barrier for learning. If you are thinking of a startup and scaling it to an extent , then MQ incubator provides some of the best ways to do it with great networking.
Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts
Not only applying Innovation & Entrepreneurship to academic curricula, training programmes and infrastructure, but Macquarie University also facilitates I&E development by funding research activities within the university and supporting researchers or HDR candidates through the Macquarie University Postgraduate Research Fund (PGRF) Department. With mentoring support from Macquarie University Incubator, more than 40 startups have been formed and developed in different industries such as healthcare, financial management, AI technology, biotechnology, etc.
- Landscape Canvas