The University of Newcastle (UON) has announced the appointment of Dr Sarah Pearson, formerly CEO of Canberra’s CBR Innovation Network (CBRIN), as its inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor of Industry Engagement and Innovation.
In the role, Pearson will work towards building industry partnerships for the university, while accelerating its entrepreneurial support through innovation hubs and working towards the commercialisation of research.
Pearson expressed her excitement about the appointment, saying she’s been following the university’s progression in the innovation space closely for a while and is looking forward to continuing its development.
“I am passionate about bringing ideas to life in order to benefit the global community; research institutions play a vital role in realising this,” she said.
“My experience working across research, industry and in close partnership with government, in all parts of the innovation system, will help me provide a strong base for the University of Newcastle to make further progression in the space.”
With a long history in the entrepreneurial space, Pearson founded CBRIN in 2014 off the back of an ACT government push to support local innovation.
A collaboration between its founding partners CSIRO, Data 61, UNSW Canberra, University of Canberra, Canberra Institute of Technology and Australian National University, the organisation offers events, workshops, coworking space and mentorship to local startups.
Pearson was also behind the launch of the organisation’s accelerator program, in addition to developing activities and programs for kids designed to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The appointment comes as part of the university’s push towards supporting local innovation and industry, according to Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation Professor Kevin Hall, which will be aided by Pearson’s “extensive links” to the innovation ecosystem.
“I am proud the University of Newcastle is making proactive steps to strengthen our ties to industry and make the world-class research happening at our institution continue to translate into global solutions,” said Hall.
“Dr Pearson’s vast experience working between research and industry, as well as her extensive links with the international innovation community will give our institution the leadership necessary for the University to make its mark on a global scale.”
Part of UON’s push towards supporting innovative projects, last year saw the university contribute $8 million towards the government’s Hunter Innovation Project, a project designed to transform NSW’s Hunter region into an digital innovation hub.
The university also launched its Integrated Innovation Network, an initiative to create spaces for researchers, startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to collaborate, as backed by $1 million from the state government’s Boosting Business Innovation Grant.
Image: Dr Sarah Pearson. Source: Supplied.