Monash University helps drive startup economy in Australia and beyond

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Monash University today welcomed the Universities Australia report, Startup Smarts: Universities and the Startup Economy, confirming the essential role of the universities sector in fuelling Australia’s startup economy and future job creation.

“With more than four in five Australian startup founders being university graduates, the role of Australian universities to advance innovation with industry-focused expertise demonstrates the increasingly significant role that universities play in nurturing economic growth and enhancing industrial productivity,” Monash University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO said.

The Universities Australia report will be launched today at the National Press Club by Universities Australia Chair Professor Barney Glover.

Professor Gardner highlighted Monash University’s achievements in incubating and accelerating innovation among students, researchers and businesses.

“Key to fostering a startup culture is a commitment to creating deep and enduring research partnerships with industry, governments and organisations, focusing on their real-world needs in a learning environment that encourages and accelerates student’s passions. Monash partners across disciplines with industries as diverse as food, energy, manufacturing and biomedicine.

“Students at Monash benefit from this engagement with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills through programs such as Monash’s Generator and its flagship the Accelerator,” Professor Gardner said.

Monash student, Danushi Peiris is undertaking the Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges (Honours) degree - the only program of its kind in Australia combining scientific learning with formal training in leadership and entrepreneurship.

Danushi’s involvement in the Monash Generator enabled her to create a medical devices company which is creating an alternative to the EpiPen. The six-month fellowship involved collaborating with MBA students from Ben-Gurion University, Israel. As part of the program, Danushi pitched to investors in Israel and subsequently received funding from Monash’s Generator program as well as MedTech’s Got Talent – an accelerator program focused on medical technologies.

“Four years ago, as part of my interview for Global Challenges, I was asked about my five-year plan. I said that I wanted to be running my own enterprise,” Ms Peiris said.

“Through both the focus on entrepreneurship in the Global Challenges program and the incredible insights and funding offered by Monash’s Generator program, my dream is now being realised.”

Chairman of Monash spin-off, Amaero, Dr Ross Pilling, said the report underlined the value in universities combining startup cultures and research capabilities with industry.

“Amaero Engineering is a company born from Monash’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing. Its pioneering 3D printing of aerospace components such as jet engines and subsequent international commercialisation was made possible because of Monash’s research capabilities in engineering.

“The exceptional research expertise of a university like Monash is invaluable to companies like Amaero. Indeed, without Monash, Amaero wouldn’t exist and be the global leader in 3D printing it is today. We continue to benefit from working closely with experts such as Professor Xinhua Wu who leads the way in additive manufacturing research,” Dr Pilling said.