Local leaders exploring new research opportunities are looking to the success of a respected German institute, which helped introduce 10,000 jobs to a regional city similar in size to Bendigo.
Academics from the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering were in Bendigo last week for tours and workshops, with key stakeholders from government, industry and the higher education sectors gathering on Friday to discuss key lessons.
La Trobe University’s Keith Nugent said the visit was a chance to learn more about the Fraunhofer model, which had helped drive job growth in the German regional city of Kaiserslautern.
“Kaiserslautern has become a vibrant tech cluster with more than 10,000 new jobs in the past 15 years,” he said.
Professor Nugent said the university could learn from Kaiserslautern’s journey.
“Increasingly, we need to make sure we combine the world-class research that goes on with universities to address the problems faced by modern industry,” he said.
“The more closely those two sectors work together to combine expertise, drive exciting new ideas and develop new industries, the more exciting it will be.”
Bendigo-based Ceramic Oxide Fabricators manufactured oxygen censors for use in industry and research. General manager Peter Crowhurst said opportunities like those discussed last week meant access to technical resources.
“One key issue any company faces in commercialising a product is very specific answers to challenging problems,” he said.
“Access to universities and technical know-how allows us to ask those specific questions in a commercial context,” he said.
Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the City of Greater Bendigo was well placed for a partnership with Fraunhofer and opportunities for local technological development and job growth.
“There is a window there, absolutely, and we are up for it,” she said.