LA TROBE University in Bendigo is set to be home to a regional advanced manufacturing and innovation hub.
Developed in partnership with the Bendigo Manufacturing Group and the City of Greater Bendigo, the $2 millon worth of funding will build a 'one-stop-shop' for regional industries seeking specialist advice and practical support for digital transformation across their business.
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 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," he 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."
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.
The funding was announced by the senator Sarah Henderson under the Strategic University Reform Fund.
"This funding encourages innovation and greater connection between research and local industry, a hugely successful concept here in regional Victoria," she said.
"A similar program in Germany created more than 15,000 jobs in the regional city of Kaiserslautern and I have no doubt Bendigo would be able to produce similar results here."
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 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.
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