Victorian Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, has announced $17 million in funding for the two new hubs at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus that will accelerate bio and tech innovation.
Totalling A$23 million, the Digital Innovation Hub and the Bio Innovation Hub will aim to accelerate research and development by start-ups and Victorian businesses through connecting them with La Trobe researchers, students and infrastructure.
The Digital Innovation Hub will connect La Trobe and its technology partners with businesses to improve their processes, products and services through the use of digital technologies and development of digital workforce skills.
The Hub will provide businesses of all sizes with access to computing and network platforms and technologies to develop, test and take advantage of digital solutions to support their business growth.
Some of the services provided will include supporting the agrifood industry in developing improved manufacturing processes, and testing and developing portable tech devices using artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to improve the health outcomes for elderly people living at home.
The Hub will also provide access to short courses delivered by La Trobe academics to help industry develop workforce.
The Bio Innovation Hub will provide “wet” lab space and equipment for biotechnology and agri-technology companies so they can commercialise their research discoveries.
Businesses in the Bio Innovation Hub will develop a range of products from potential drugs such as those improving treatment of fibrotic diseases through cutting edge diagnostics to medicinal agriculture products.
The Bio Hub will support the commercialisation of breakthrough research in Victoria by businesses, currently limited by a lack of access to these specialist facilities.
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the new Digital Innovation and Bio Innovation Hubs would help meet the research and commercialisation needs of Victorian businesses.
“Melbourne has some of Australia’s leading technology innovators, and these Hubs will give those companies a leading edge in Australia and internationally,” Professor Dewar said.
“Our new facilities will utilise the research capabilities and industry engagement expertise for which La Trobe is renowned, particularly in areas of molecular sciences, biotechnology, agriculture and digital technologies.
“They will also build on the University’s deep-rooted connection to businesses and the wider communities of Melbourne’s north and regional Victoria, creating a catalyst for innovation and economic growth.”
The new La Trobe Hubs will create 170 jobs including those during the construction phase, which will begin in May and are expected to be complete in 2022.