The University of Western Australia and the Perth arm of global professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are joining forces in a new partnership that aims to find new ways to decipher hard-to-solve industry problems.
The alliance, to be formally signed today, is part of UWA’s Mutual Opportunities for Us (Mo4U) program set up to create new commercial opportunities for its research staff and provide local businesses with better access to its scientific expertise.
UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Community and Engagement), Professor Kent Anderson, said while it was acknowledged that universities have the research smarts and corporate Australia the businesses acumen to tackle complex industry issues, bringing the two together had not always been easy in the past.
“This new collaboration will see PwC reveal problems and issues faced by their clients in a ‘hackathon’ type environment where UWA scientists and some of our brightest students will work together with them to brainstorm solutions,” Professor Anderson said.
Managing Partner, PwC Perth, Justin Carroll likened the new arrangement to kick-starting an ‘accelerated consultancy’ which actively encourages innovation and a new way of approaching hard-to-resolve client issues.
“Innovation has historically been something that comes naturally to Australians, however our recent track record in terms of commercialising innovation has been woeful," Mr Carroll said.
"Partnerships like this that provide a bridge between corporate Australia and the research community will help arrest this trend, and put us on the path to achieving the Prime Minister's goal of an 'ideas boom' in this country.
"For Western Australia in particular, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation between business, government, researchers, and the start up and small business community will be critical for the State's future prosperity."
Professor Anderson said as the University responsible for delivering the largest research output of all WA universities, UWA’s broad reach and depth of impact is already widely felt across WA and the country.
“This new way of engaging with business is not only going to help our researchers with commercial outcomes for their ideas, it will provide them with a better understanding of what business is looking for.”
The Mo4U business-engagement program is part of the broader UWA Innovation Quarter (UWA IQ) Campaign; a renewed focus at The University on driving entrepreneurship among its students, staff and community.
David Stacey (UWA Media and Public Relations Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716