School:University of Technology Sydney
- 1 Overview
- 2 Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- 3 Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- 4 Actively Supporting the Technology Transfer
- 5 Facilitating University - Industry Collaboration
- 6 Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts
- 7 Landscape Canvas
- 8 Related Links
The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) was founded in 1988 and is located in Sydney's tech precinct in NSW, Australia. A modern focus and a drive for innovation has enabled UTS to quickly climb global rankings. UTS jumped almost 200 places in the Times Higher Education rankings over the last seven years (2012-2019) and remains the number one young university (under 50) in Australia. UTS is known as a world leader in transdiciplinary approaches and sustainable futures thinking, with over 45,000 students and almost 4,000 staff. An industry focus with modern courses and state-of-the-art equipment has enabled its degrees and students continue to become more respected worldwide. UTS has shown a passion to continue this movement through its 1 Billion dollar investment to fundamentally change the way that teaching, learning and research is delivered.
UTS is led by five distinct values that shape the vision and strategy of the university:
Discover and share new knowledge and new ways to lead through teaching, research, intellectual debate and use of technology.
Engage and collaborate with students, alumni, partners, professions and communities locally and internationally.
Empower staff and students to grow, challenge and make a difference.
Deliver obligations to staff, students, partners and communities while maintaining high standards and ethical behaviour.
Sustain local and global environment, organisational health and the ability to create a positive and viable future.
Launched in 2017, UTS’ Vision 2027 seeks to catalyze a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship with the university The goals encourage collaboration and creativity in social justice and accessibility; responsible leadership; and excellence in indigenous higher education and research. Students are encouraged to be flexible and resilient through critical thinking, access to impactful learning and transdisciplinary thinking. Students, staff, professionals and partners are connected in through innovation to deliver excellent research with impact through eight university-wide goals.
Lifetime learning Personal learning experience Digital partners New ways of working Precinct, community, partnerships Connected research International profile Social change
In collaboration with the launch of Vision 2027, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Innovation and Enterprise - Professor Glenn Wightwick was appointed to support innovation and connection throughout the university with a focus on entrepreneurship and external engagement. Professor Wightwick oversees the Corporate Relations Centre, Innovation and Entrepreneurship portfolio and 2SER radio/podcast platform.
Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Degrees and Programs
As a key component of Vision 2027 student innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) is seen as critical to the success of students and the university with over 90 distinct subjects that engage with I&E principles. UTS recognizes eight academic pathways where students can interact with innovation and entrepreneurship as follows:
These pathways are supported by a wider culture of innovation that encourages students to convert creativity in entrepreneurial endeavors. The following UTS StartNet map explores how entrepreneurial programs and culture are found across several faculties in the university.
Academic Pathways - learning.futures
Academically, students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels can engage with a host of subjects, majors, content and degree pathways. Innovative programs such as the MBAe – Masters of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship; Honours in Entrepreneurship; and Bachelor of Creative Intelligence all encourage students to explore transdisciplinary approaches to I&E.
Students engage in UTS’ unique model of learning - the learning.futures strategy which promotes practice-oriented education for a global workforce through research-inspired and integrated learning.
Students can also access online and open source courses including ‘Introduction to Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Designing Out Problems’. One third of UTS students will receive formal innovation and entrepreneurship training in their coursework alongside specific entrepreneurship support. UTS fosters I&E across the nine university faculties and through a variety of unique centres/institutes as highlighted below.
- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
- UTS Business School
- Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building
- Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
- Faculty of Health
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Science
- Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation
- Graduate School of Health
- Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion
- Institute for Public Policy and Governance
- Institute for Sustainable Future
- Connected Intelligence Centre
More specifically, UTS collaborates with industry, academics, and the local startup ecosystem to offer a total of 107 entrepreneurial subjects that immerse students in a practical environment. These entrepreneurial subjects are available for current UTS students as well as students or alumni wishing to explore entrepreneurship outside of a degree structure by joining UTS Startups.
Cultural Pathways - Fostering entrepreneurship
Beyond the academic pathways, UTS fosters a culture of creativity through the UTS Innovation & Entrepreneurship Unit. This unit seeks to bridge research and entrepreneurship through a strong focus on research commercialization. The unit sits physically next to the business school and offers startup spaces to support hatchling entrepreneurs. The I&E unit supports with internships; short courses and toolkits (including ‘Design Thinking for Researchers’ and open access courses); student societies and industry connection opportunities (hackathons, workshops, camps and mentorship).
The core of the unit is UTS Startups, an incubator focused on mentoring and supporting students and recent alumni with startups. UTS Startups is open to students from all faculties and degree types, but most students come from Engineering and IT as well as Business. This is supported by recent research which found that 44% of UTS undergraduate students (2018) believe that they are likely or very likely to join a start-up and 34% state that they are likely or very likely to start a business. The following chart highlights the growing culture of embedding entrepreneurship culture within universities in Australia in an effort to support budding entrepreneurship in their innovative ideas. There are over 160 incubators, accelerators and pre-accelerators in Australia, however these remain expensive and therefore UTS seeks to promote a culture of entrepreneurship by embedding such thinking in coursework and existing degree programs alongside the startup community.
Marketing and communications strategies
Continuous efforts in marketing and communications strategies encompass a multi-faceted approach, leveraging the power of social media promotion and events to engage existing and prospective students and academics. Alongside this, outreach efforts are prioritized through various channels, including the FEIT Engagement email list, Professional Practice Forum, News & Events updates, and UTS BUILD initiatives which all enhance visibility. To foster a culture that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship, UTS maintains engaging Innovation and entrepreneurship blogs and stays connected with the UTS Careers network. Additionally, collaboration with ActivateUTS, the home of student-run organisations, clubs, and societies, ensures commitment to nurturing talent, maintaining an active presence, and building a strong community across campus.
Early exposure to the possibilities of tertiary education such as the fields of Engineering and IT benefits individual students but also contributes to the diversity, innovation, and development of communities and industries at large. Initiatives run by EWB, Women in Engineering and IT, UTS Student Ambassadors, and UTS FEIT SPROUTS include workshops, career markets, speaker panels, and programs. Available for Yr 11-12 students in high school, U@Uni Academy is an alternate, non-ATAR entry pathway to study at UTS and focuses on the development of essential skills such as communication, critical thinking, and innovation. These skills are highly transferable and are vital in both academic and professional settings. Encouraging students from all backgrounds, including rural and urban areas, to explore STEM helps bring diverse perspectives to these fields, and ultimately shapes a more inclusive and prosperous future.
Extracurricular clubs and program offerings
The array of extracurricular clubs and program offerings at the university reflects a diverse and dynamic environment, catering to various interests and fostering both personal and academic growth. Here's a brief overview of some of the offerings:
- Innovative Academic Evolvement (IAE): Promotes academic excellence, interdisciplinary cooperation, and personal growth by offering students a platform to not only excel in their studies but also develop important skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving,
- TD Connect: This is a community of innovators and change-makers and provides networking opportunities and connections, which can be instrumental in exploring career options and gaining insights from industry professionals.
- UIF (University Innovation Fellows): UIF suggests a dedicated group focused on fostering innovation on campus. This group may work on innovative projects and initiatives that contribute to the university community.
- StartUp Link UTS: Focused on entrepreneurship and startups, this initiative aims to immerse students in the startup world.
- ActivateUTS Clubs and Societies: FEIT focused student-run societies often offer competitions, challenges and networking nights to engage students in hands-on engineering and robotics projects, fostering creativity and technical skills.
- Engineering Society
- Robotics Society: SUMO WARS
- Engineers Without Borders (EWB):Inter-Uni Design Corner
- Rocketry Society
- Aerospace Society
- MotorSports Society
Infrastructure, Hands-On Workshops & Spaces
The university's infrastructure and hands-on workshop facilities are integral to the educational experience, providing students with the resources and spaces they need to explore, innovate, and apply their academic knowledge in practical ways. Here is an overview of some of these notable facilities:
- Protospace: Protospace is Australia's most advanced additive manufacturing facility and serves as a dynamic hub for creative innovation, allowing students to bring their ideas to life. It features advanced 3D printing and scanning technologies as well as tools and equipment for rapid prototyping and product development.
- Mechanical & Mechatronic Labs: These labs are essential for students studying the interdisciplinary field of mechatronics, where mechanical and electronic systems converge. These labs provide hands-on experiences in designing and building mechatronic devices. It offers the resources to design, build, and test mechanical systems and components.
- Human Performance Research Centre Laboratories: These labs are dedicated to studying human physiology and performance, facilitating research in fields such as sports science, kinesiology, and ergonomics.
- The Hive SuperLab: The Hive SuperLab is a state-of-the-art research and teaching facility, fostering collaboration and innovation across various scientific disciplines.
- Science Super Lab (Vicki Sara Building): A cutting-edge science lab equipped to accommodate a wide range of experiments and research across multiple scientific fields.
- Mathematics and Computing Facilities: These facilities provide students with access to advanced computational resources and software necessary for mathematical and computing studies.
- Biologics Innovation Facility: This facility is focused on biotechnology and the development of biological products, supporting research and innovation in the life sciences.
- Metrology Lab: Metrology is the science of measurement, and this lab specialises in precision measurement techniques and equipment.
- UTS:RI Infrastructure Robotics Lab: A specialized lab for research and development in the field of infrastructure robotics, which includes applications in construction, maintenance, and inspection.
- Human-Robot Interaction Lab: This lab focuses on the study of interactions between humans and robots, exploring ways to enhance the usability and effectiveness of robotic systems.
- Intelligent Robotics Lab: Dedicated to the development of intelligent robotic systems, this lab involves research in artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine learning.
- Signals Laboratory: Signals labs are essential for students in fields like electrical engineering, where they can experiment with signal processing and electronics.
- Junior Circuits Laboratory: Designed for introductory electronics courses, this lab provides students with hands-on experience in building and testing circuits.
- Power Systems Laboratory: Focused on power engineering and electrical systems, this lab supports research and experimentation in the field.
- Control Laboratory: This lab specializes in control systems and automation, enabling students to design and analyze control systems.
- Embedded Software Laboratory: Essential for computer science and engineering students, this lab focuses on embedded systems and software development.
- Embedded Projects Laboratory: A practical space for students to work on real-world embedded system projects.
- Data Arena: An advanced facility that may incorporate immersive data visualization and exploration technologies, enabling students to interact with complex datasets in innovative ways.
- Animal Logic Academy: Affiliated with the film and animation industry, this academy could provide students with hands-on experience in digital media and animation.
- Specialist Computing Labs: These labs cater to specific computing needs, providing students with access to specialized software and hardware for various disciplines.
Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship
As a component of the 2027 Vision, UTS is committed to supporting staff with research and learning with a goal of seamless, personalized and relevant education. While staff are also encouraged to engage with industry partners and through innovative research there are fewer resources for startups and entrepreneurship for faculty. Where students (undergraduate and postgraduate) own their own Intellectual Property (IP) from research projects, IP generated by faculty members belongs to the university.
UTS Startups allows faculty to participate if one member of the team is a student. This limits opportunities for external innovation. However, there is a significant focus on encouraging innovation in the classroom environment and through industry partnerships. Opportunities to enhance learner experience (LX) and support academics in the transition to digital learning platforms such as the LX.lab, futures blog and online support platforms. These resources are designed to help academics build knowledge and confidence within the learning.futures mandate. Successful industry partnerships are well recognized across the university and celebrated through technology transfer, and licensing opportunities.
FEIT have given their staff an opportunity to collaborate through a teaching and learning retreat which simulates the impact of feedback and importance of assessment design. This inter-faculty innovative collaboration provides academics and staff with insights to how their colleagues interact with their students to encourage and explore I&E within their subjects as well as improve the overall LX for students. Though this is just the surface level of I&E, it gives students an easier way to connect with staff and collaborate on future projects and possibly commercialise through the help of UTS Startups. Student Feedback is also a very important to encourage academics and staff to explore and encourage I&E and gives students a chance to have their own input to help improve a faculties approach to I&E.
Actively Supporting the Technology Transfer
UTS supports technology transfer in two distinct pathways: students and projects/faculty. Students are encouraged to commercialize research through UTS Startups for work produced independently. Project work by faculty members and researchers is promoted for technology transfer to industry through Intellectual Property (IP) licensing or collaborative agreements in health, data science, sustainability, social futures, and future work and industry. Not all transfers have been technology based and many are the support of policy or advocacy work to the public sector and civil society.
UTS belongs to the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN)and is guided by ATN principles of IP which seek transparent, flexible and user-friendly systems that encourage a range of IP models. These principles actively encourage research that can be commercialized by industry, government and community groups through publicly available policies and templates. The ATN promotes leadership by industry partners throughout the process of technology transfer. For IP with significant commercial value and a clear route to market UTS directly seeks to form a startup with relevant stakeholders or to find potential licensees. However for other IP, UTS promotes ‘Easy Access IP’ which supports the licensing of research with a single page agreement.
Successful commercialization and information transfer ideas from UTS include:
TechGym - A recent Startup Co-Founded by two UTS students aimed at rehabilitation for stroke patients using robotics
Espresso Displays - A recent company that has broken into market providing the world's thinnest portable displays
Resolution123 - An online legal service providing quick, simple and affordable employment law advice
Auspherix - an innovative pharmaceutical company to explore drugs to treat antibiotic resistant infections
Helmedix - a helminth-based approach to treat autoimmune diseases
Sabre Autonomous Solutions - an autonomous grit-blasting robot to clean and prepare steel, stone and concrete in building projects
AustLII - a comprehensive online, open access and free database of Australian legal information
Honey Treatment - an approach to chronic wound treatment through Manuka Honey
Medicare Safety Net - the design of policy to decrease out-of-pocket expenses
Advocacy - collaboration with the Australian government to allocate $300 million for water, sanitation and hygiene in international development
Facilitating University - Industry Collaboration
UTS CareerHub and Internships - Showcasing Innovation
UTS CareerHub helps to link graduating students to industry through ongoing recruitment and an annual student showcase across facilities and degrees. The showcase seeks to highlight creative and innovative skill sets of students at UTS for future industry engagements and often coming from the Design and Transdisciplinary Innovation disciplines at UTS. Workforce development is a key priority of industry and UTS seeks to develop well-rounded, creative and critical thinkers that are ready for industry.
Industry Research - Connecting Innovation
Embedded in UTS’ 2027 vision, the university is seeking to research “exemplified by excellence, impact, engagement with global partners, and innovative collaborations that transcend disciplinary and professional boundaries.” The research aims to have economic, cultural, and social impact through mult- and trans-disciplinary approaches leveraging and sustaining partnerships with business, government and civil society. Connected research can occur in three ways:
- Contract research for strategic research expertise
- Collaborative research partnerships
- Consulting services through accessUTS
Collaborative projects such as the Innovative Future of Sydney Trains Customer Service are celebrated through the annual UTS Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Research Excellence through Collaboration or Partnership Award. UTS has partnerships with small and medium enterprises, large multinational companies, local, state, federal and international government agencies, non-governmental organizations and charities.
Industry Shaping - University Societies
UTS’s union ‘ACTIVATE’ facilities over 130 Student Societies from all faculties of the university. Many societies focus on connecting students to Industry by running events, hackathons, panels, networking evenings and site tours.
These student-led events, facilitated and sponsored by the university provide an alternate method to build Industry contacts to further pursue their career. The following societies are highly involved with Industry:
Industry Shaping - Design Studios
The university aims to encourage a number of students to be exposed to a number of projects that are generally implemented in an industry setting. In particular, the UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT (FEIT) incorporate mandatory subjects in their course that encourages students to participate in team projects. This is where they have the opportunity to utilise the theoretical skills they have learned in their technical subjects and apply it to real-world projects.
The following subjects provide some examples of FEIT offers to its students that enables students to work collaboratively in a team:
Industry Shaping - Hackathons and Case Study Sprints
UTS is very proactive in organising design sprints for students. These design based innovation events are mentored by industry professionals, sponsored by corporate companies and offer cash and investment prizes for students to develop their ‘end product or system’ designed during the hackathon.
These hackathons not only stimulate innovation in the students, it develops and grows innovation in the Industries that the hackathon is partnered with.
The following is a list of selected Industry based Hackathons run at UTS in the last 2 months that cross university disciplines.
Industry Shaping - Influencing Innovation
A final source of UTS’ culture of innovation for industry collaboration comes from the 2SER radio and podcasts. The university's radio hosts podcasts focusing on futures thinking across sectors, social justice, history and culture.
Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts
UTS’s strategic location supports the engagement with local and regional economic efforts within the precinct (Pyrmont and Ultimo), city of Sydney, region of NSW and beyond. While the university does not have a specific economic development office, the precinct-focus in UTS’ Vision 2027 speaks to the desire for local economic development. The university engages with the Greater Sydney Commission, precinct task forces, community groups, and the City of Sydney to connect with ongoing development work both for economic and philanthropic purposes. Beyond UTS’ engagement in entrepreneurship, technology transfer and industry collaboration in the economic development arena, such development has physical, and virtual aspects.
Leveraging the learning.futures approach of education, UTS has a strong movement towards virtual learning and collaboration spaces. This opens opportunities for local and regional collaboration through podcasts and open source courses.
Due to the shift in online learning in 2020, more resources and events are now online to accommodate the change. The majority of society events are now held online through zoom to allow students to connect socially. A new way to support and connect students are through the UTS FEIT Discord Server where students discuss their subject difficulties and assist each other in solving issues. There are still many spaces and events that are yet to be released virtually for students to access.
Physical spaces in UTS function as catalysts for innovation and entrepreneurship and are supported by over 1 billion dollars of recent infrastructure investment. Vision2027 envisions the UTS campus and facilities as spaces for public and community engagement as highlighted in the following four strategic outcomes:
- Build Australia’s first Indigenous Residential College to support Indigenous student participation and success in higher education.
- Expand innovation spaces such as ProtoSpace, Data Arena, Tech Lab, iHub to be more accessible to industry partners, civil society and government.
- Develop co-working spaces in the tech precinct and UTS facilities in Botany and Western Sydney.
- Design local engagements across Sydney that support lifelong learning.
2027 UTS Vision
‘We’re a university for all, ensuring everyone who desires and merits a place at UTS is enabled to do so’
UTS strives to enhance the surrounding communities in a socioeconomic context. This is evident in their scholarship programs directed at those who are experiencing economic hardship is evident in their scholarship programs. For example, the ‘Equal Access Scholarship’ aims to assist lower socioeconomic groups to attend UTS. Additionally, they aim to support minority communities financially in their attendance at UTS. There are scholarships available for both indigenous students and women in STEM.
South by southwest is a huge multimillion dollar event that will greatly stimulate the surrounding economy, particularly in the area of hospitality. UTS is collaborating with this event. Not only has UTS assisted in the running of this economically stimulating event, it has partnered to create opportunities for UTS students to receive career stimulating work experience and internships opportunities for the event. South by Southwest will run a series of workshops, panels and mentor sessions that will provide educational opportunities to a wide variety of people throughout the event.
UTS and CSIRO are together dedicated to assisting Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in their research challenges. For example, researchers at UTS alongside CSIRO have worked on projects with both Young Henrys and 4 Pines Brewing Company. ‘Berto (industrial designer and Senior Lecturer in Product Design at UTS) finds collaborating with SMEs highly rewarding and considers such partnerships vital for our economy and society.’ Thus the partnership between UTS and CSIRO can be seen as beneficial to SMEs, stimulating for the economy and empowering to our society.
UTS has partnered with Nokia to research and develop 5G and 6G networks. The development of this technology will work to significantly stimulate GDP in Australia. They are collaborating in the 5G Futures Lab that is equipped with state of the art technology and will assist in pushing their research forward. Additionally, the partnership between UTS and Nokia has resulted in the creation of the UTS Tech Lab. This is used as an R&D space for both corporations. Nokia has also provided financial support in the form of scholarships such as the UTS Nokia Nuala Ward Prize to students enrolled in UTS.
See the 2019 FEIT UIF Video:
See the 2018 Autumn (Fall) UTS UIF video:
UIF @ UTS
|Spring 2023 FEIT
|Spring 2019 HDR
|Spring 2019 FEIT
|Autumn (Fall) 2018
|Anna Józefina Rutkowska
|Satya Pranavi Gangapuri