Regional manufacturing gets new hub

La Trobe University in Bendigo will be home to a regional advanced manufacturing and innovation hub, following a $2 million commitment from the Australian Government.

Developed in partnership with the Bendigo Manufacturing Group and the City of Greater Bendigo, the hub will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for regional industries seeking specialist advice and practical support for digital transformation across their business.

The funding was announced by the Hon. Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Education and Youth, under the Strategic University Reform Fund (SURF).

The hub will be initially based in Bendigo and, if successful within the first 12 months, the University plans to extend its reach and impact across its entire regional campus network – including Shepparton, Mildura and Albury-Wodonga.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the Bendigo hub will connect regional manufacturing companies to global markets, and boost employment and skills in the region.

“Bendigo already has a thriving manufacturing sector, which contributes significantly to the city’s economy,” Professor Dewar said.

“This hub will capitalise on those strengths, connecting local companies with the University’s academic expertise, network of major industry partners, like Cisco and Optus, and world-class research facilities.

“Regional businesses can also access global supply chains and markets, and product-improving technologies, such as the Internet of Things. This initiative will help them discover multi-disciplinary solutions to the challenges they face,” Professor Dewar said.

The hub will also use an internationally recognised system of applied innovation, that has been refined for application in regional Victoria, with support from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering.

As part of the initiative La Trobe will also commission local economic consultant, REMPLAN, to conduct research into existing and emerging advanced manufacturing employment clusters in the region, and partner with Australian National University (ANU) to deliver a regional innovation and leadership program.

With an estimated output in 2018 of $2.25 billion, manufacturing is the largest contributor to the economy of Greater Bendigo, representing more than 30 per cent of the city’s Gross Regional Product.

About the Strategic University Reform Fund (SURF):

The Strategic University Reform Fund (SURF) encourages universities to undertake novel reform in areas of Government priority and enables universities to develop targeted and innovative solutions that are focused on local communities. The Australian Government invested $40 million in funding over four years to create the SURF.

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