QUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Arun Sharma will champion Queensland’s participation in the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) in a partnership between QUT, the Queensland Government and MIT.
Professor Sharma was in the United States as part of a trade delegation to promote Queensland's strengths and technological innovations as the MIT announcement was made.
Queensland is one of two Australian regions to be accepted into the program which facilitates regional economic development and social progress through innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE). The other is Melbourne.
Professor Sharma said participation in the MIT REAP program will provide the most rigorous and effective roadmap for the transformation of the state’s economy.
"The challenge was to broaden the economy from the resource base and capitalise and harness research in robotics, big data and the Internet of Things to become a global technology hub in existing strengths, including mining and agriculture and the environment, with a focus on tropical and subtropical climates and the sustainable management of reef ecosystems," Professor Sharma said.
Professor Sharma was named “champion” of the cross-functional Queensland team which includes Jamie Merrick, Director-General of the Department of Science Information Technology and Innovation, Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, Mark Sowerby, Elaine Stead, Investment Director, Blue Sky Ventures, as well as corporate and university co-leads including Executive Director of QUT’s Institute for Future Environments, Professor Bronwyn Harch and Professor Rachel Parker, Assistant Dean of Research in the QUT Business School.
Past outcomes of the Program include interventions to connect entrepreneurs to resources in Wales, scaling-up of early stage business in London, and an open entrepreneurship and innovation centre in Tokyo.
Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said Queensland’s acceptance into the program was an opportunity for the state to learn from and work with the best in the world to build its reputation as an innovation destination.
“Through participation in MIT REAP, Queensland will further transform our state into a global technology-enabled innovation hub for mining, agriculture and environment,” Ms Enoch said.
“We are developing an innovation-led economy which builds on our natural strengths, and this program provides us a seat at the table with global innovators and thought leaders.”
Professor Sharma also worked with the Queensland Government to host the fifth MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp at QUT earlier this year.
An agreement has been reached to host the next MIT Bootcamp which will focus on the agriculture, mining and the environmental sectors with special emphasis on the Great Barrier Reef.
QUT Vice-Chancellor Peter Coaldrake said QUT had cultivated investment in innovation and entrepreneurship, and collaborations with MIT were extremely positive steps to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.
MIT has been ranked as the top university in the world in the QS World University Rankings for the past five years.
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Deputy Vice-Chanellor Professor Arun Sharma will help champion Queensland entrepreneurship to the world in a partnership with MIT and the Queensland Government.
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