Forum to bridge gap between mining suppliers and researchers

World-ranked universities and leaders from Australia's $86 billion mining supply sector met on 28 July 2017 to discuss ways to better support Australia's mining sector and drive innovation.

METS Ignited hosted a round table symposium at QUT Gardens Point Campus in Brisbane in partnership with the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) on Friday, 28 July 2017.

In an Australian first, METS Ignited also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ATN at the event that takes a national approach to fostering collaboration between the METS sector and universities.

METS Ignited Chief Executive Officer Ric Gros said the round table will focus on current opportunities to supply national and international mining companies by accelerating the commercialisation of innovation.

"Australia's universities lead the world in research but there is a gap in connecting industry with the research results, which could form a new and additional commercial solution. Building closer ties between the METS sector and research will provide both faster commercialisation and innovation cycles," Mr Gros said.

"Also, industry often falters when considering working with research organisations, as the processes are unknown and barriers to entry appear high. We expect this symposium to define pathways for METS companies to partner on research when addressing industry challenges."

ATN Executive Director Renee Hindmarsh said collaboration was important.

"Collaboration has always been important for the ATN and its members, and we are delighted we can bring national scale to this vital sector through partnership with the METS Ignited growth centre. The ATN is committed to forging partnerships with industry and government to deliver practical results through real world research," Ms Hindmarsh said.

In line with the MOU objectives, Mr Gros said METS industry leaders will partner with academics from ATN Universities to identify opportunities to collaborate on research of value to the METS sector; integrate METS companies into the commercialisation process, and connect tertiary students and post graduates to industry via internships.

"Creating opportunities for undergraduates and post graduates to be placed in industry during their studies is valuable to both the students, their future employers, as well as research projects. The METS industry seeks to employ the best and brightest STEM graduates, as well as partner with universities on research," Mr Gros said.

The Round table was facilitated by the Business and Higher Education Round Table Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Binks, a former BHP employee and Oxford University alumnus.

METS Ignited General Manager - Education and Leadership Skills Sarah Boucaut (right) is pictured with QUT Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) Professor Arun Sharma with Ms Hindmarsh.