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Industry and researchers focus on supporting the mining sector


Brisbane could build on its existing strength and expertise in innovation and technology to become a 'Silicone Valley' of the mining supply sector.

Discussion at a roundtable between industry and researchers identified the city as a key location due to its proximity to the mining sector, investment into relevant research and vibrant business community.

The topic was one of a number discussed at a round table symposium led by Australia's METS Ignited and the Australian Technology Network (ATN) in Brisbane on Friday, 28 July.

More than 30 leaders from successful national mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies and academics from Australia's high profile universities met to discuss how to increase collaboration between the sectors.

Keynote speaker Professor Arun Sharma, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) at QUT said a global hub was possible given the level of investment in research and success of the local METS sector.

Dingo Software Chief Executive Officer, Paul Higgins said he was confident Brisbane had the potential to become a hub having spent 14 years working in the United States, including Silicone Valley.

"We have an abundance of natural resources and smart people - that's the METS sector - so I think Brisbane is the place to be," Mr Higgins said.

METS Ignited also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ATN at the event.

METS Ignited Chief Executive Officer, Ric Gros said the MOU would encourage more undergraduate and postgraduate industry placements, assist the METS industry to employ the best and brightest STEM graduates, and support increased research projects.

"The METS sector generates $86 billion to the Australian economy and supports 503,000 jobs. This MOU will provide greater opportunity to further grow capacity and capability," Mr Gros said.

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

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.

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.