State of Innovation

Western Australia is becoming an innovation centre to watch.

Charlotta Kemp by Charlotta Kemp,

Exciting developments in science and technology are positioning Western Australia as an innovation centre to watch. Its well-established research and development sector, large scientific and technical workforce and proximity to fast growing Asian markets are encouraging WA based businesses to innovate and look outward.

Here we take a look at some of the latest developments that illustrate Western Australia’s strengths as a business and innovation hub.

In January, the world’s most powerful telescope the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)  reached another milestone as the project’s ASKAP pathfinder component finished its testing phase. This global project involving 20 countries and being built in Western Australia and South Africa will deliver a 168-fold leap on the best technology available today and expand our understanding of the universe.

Excitingly for WA based companies, the SKA project has attracted the world’s leading experts in data science and positioned Perth at the forefront of Big Data technology and analytics.

Perth’s nascent automated vehicle industry has been boosted by Australia’s very first Automated Vehicle Trials on public roads. The RAC Intellibus driving around South Perth can be booked by the public and perform all safety-critical driving functions without a driver at a speed of up to 45 kilometres per hour. Curtin University is Australia’s first university to trial a commercial driverless bus to transport students around campus as part of its automated vehicle research.

Some exciting WA tech companies making waves in Australia and abroad are Canva, Trendwise, HealthEngine, Newton Labs and Peppermint Innovation with some new players Flux, Core and PlusEight adding to Perth’s burgeoning start-up ecosystem.

Q&A with Rob Shannon, Associate Director of Innovation at University of Western Australia

How does UWA foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Western Australia?

Game-changing ideas happen when people with different backgrounds, perspectives and expertise come together. UWA is a hot-bed of ideas, networks and creative talent. We’re empowering our researchers and students to collaborate with industry through new spaces, courses, programs and pathways.

Are you involved in any exciting projects at the moment?

Always!  Hardwiring entrepreneurship into UWA’s undergraduate degrees, rejuvenating our Masonic Hall into a brand new co-working and office space for graduate entrepreneurs, and planning a celebration of WA innovators, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

What’s the most interesting innovation you’ve come across in WA over the last couple of years?

Veri Vote – a UWA student start up strengthening democracy through block chain technology. A great team and a great idea competing to solve a global challenge of democracy in the digital age.