14 February 2014

Students working in design studio The University of South Australia will be a key player in a new partnership with Hills Limited to put South Australia at the forefront of innovative product design and technology expertise for a wide range of industries, from aged care and health to security and safety.

The partnership, together with Flinders University, will see the development of two new innovation Centres in South Australia underpinned by a $5 million co-contribution from Hills Limited and the State Government.

The two new Centres – the Lance Hill Design Centre (named after the inventor of the Hills hoist) and the Digital Research and Commercialisation Centre - will be showcases for smart collaboration in the State, engaging students, independent designers and innovators, researchers and businesses, to collaborate on projects, incubate new ideas and products, and commercialise new designs.

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd, says the project is an example of how clever cities deliver innovation, increase their connectivity, and build capacity for the future.

“This project is an exemplar of how we need to approach business development in the State into the future,” Prof Lloyd says.

“The hallmarks of successful enterprises is that they develop strategic collaborations; harness talents across the spectrum from the theoretical to the practical; have a guiding notion of the problems that need to be solved, and a practical way to make good ideas a reality. This partnership ticks all those boxes.

“This partnership continues our long association with Hills, a South Australian company that has nurtured the careers of many of our graduates in design and engineering. It fosters important collaboration with Flinders University so that we can each bring our research strengths to the table.”

Hills Limited’s Group Managing Director and CEO, Ted Pretty, says the company is undergoing a major transformation to meet the challenges of the global marketplace.

“We are delighted with the support we have had from the State Government and the enthusiasm showed by the universities in working with us,” Mr Pretty says.

He says it is expected that five new permanent roles will be created immediately with the potential of material increases of up to 50 people as the new Centres mature.

“We hope the Centres will also stimulate and indirectly support up to 30 additional local researchers and developers. We also plan to reinvest 50 per cent of after tax profits earned in the first three years on any IP developed in the Centres up to the $2.5m committed by Government,” Mr Pretty says.

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: Michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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