Monash furthers global impact with launch of $100 m institute for R&D commercialisation in China

The Monash Technology Transformation Institute (MTTI) – a new not-for-profit research institute focused on research and development (R&D) activities located in the Pingshan District of Shenzhen, China – was officially launched in Shenzhen on Wednesday 29 May, 2019.

At the event, the MTTI was acknowledged as a bold and historic initiative for collaboration in innovation and trade between Australia and China made possible through Monash’s new and novel partnership with Chinese government and commercial partners. MTTI represents the largest commercialisation partnership negotiated between an Australian University and China.

Launched by Shenzhen Municipality and Pingshan District Governments, Shenzhen Yungu Investment Development Co. Ltd, Shenzhen Lanjing Michuang Investment Partnership and Monash University, the event was attended by dignitaries including Mr Ai Xuefeng, Deputy Mayor of Shenzhen, Mr Cai Yu, Deputy Director of Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission, Mr Li Yingzhong, Deputy Secretary of Shenzhen Pingshan District Committee and Mr Chen Huaping, Deputy Head of Pingshan District.

Professor Ken Sloan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Enterprise), and Sarah Newton, Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise) and Deputy Dean, External Relations within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences represented Monash University at the launch.  Professor Zhi-Cheng Xiao of Monash University, was honoured to accept his appointment as Director-Designate of MTTI.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said that the Monash Technology Transformation Institute is a compelling demonstration of the University furthering its ambitious agenda for global impact. 

“Monash will pre-select early stage IP for development at the Institute from among our researchers’ outstanding discoveries in medicine, medical devices, materials and engineering,” she said.

Victorian Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade, Martin Pakula said: "This is yet another example of Victoria taking its research expertise and ensuring it is commercialised and available globally. Monash University is a leader not only in R&D but also in the way it makes sure its medical research benefits human health."

Selected projects will receive funds for proof-of-concept studies from MTTI’s generous $100 million, 10-year budget. Commercialisation expertise within MTTI will drive IP to the investible stage in previously untapped Chinese and global markets to improve human and animal health and wellbeing.

According to Professor Sloan, MTTI will drive new products to market in these and other sectors – including advanced technologies and bio-pharmaceuticals, that will help improve human and animal health and well-being, and will meet the growing demand for advanced technologies in medical practice and medical devices in China and around the world.

“Bringing the MTTI to fruition has taken courage by both Monash and our Chinese partners and I look forward to moving ahead with this bold program aimed at benefiting people's health within China and globally," he said.

According to Ms Newton, the MTTI provides a unique opportunity for Monash University to identify IP projects that are unable to obtain funding from sources in Australia and/or have a significant China market. Chinese companies led the world in patent applications in 2018, lodging 40 per cent of all applications, or 1.38 million patent requests, according to the World IP Organisation (WIPO) and Shenzhen files approximately half of all patent applications in China each year.

MTTI complements Biocurate, the company which Monash University has established jointly with the University of Melbourne, the focus of which is therapeutic and drug development in Australia. MTTI will be available to Biocurate as a potential channel for taking its projects into the Chinese market.

Monash University researchers interested in discussing the potential of their research for MTTI funding should send an email to innovation@monash.edu seeking further information.