Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Julie Owens last week welcomed Training, Skills and Higher Education Minister the Hon. Gayle Tierney MP to the Waurn Ponds Campus to unveil ManuFutures 2.
Deakin and the Victorian Government, through its Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF), will each invest $10 million in the major project that will see ManuFutures double in size to give new start-ups and existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to scale up quickly to advanced manufacturing and link-in with Geelong’s knowledge economy.
Professor Iain Martin said the Geelong Future Economy Precinct at the Waurn Ponds Campus was fast becoming Victoria’s epicentre of world-leading research and innovation in advanced manufacturing, materials, energy, sustainability, technology, health and high-value agriculture.
“ManuFutures 2 brings to life Deakin’s commitment to the economic and social development of regional Victoria by taking the unique industry-University collaborative model we’ve built in Geelong and expanding this to manufacturing centres right across the state from Bendigo to Warrnambool and beyond,” Professor Martin said.
“ManuFutures achieved financial sustainability in its first year and has created over 120 jobs, and this expansion will add 130 more jobs while building on Deakin’s impressive track record of innovation and commercialisation outcomes.
Deakin University, a major partner to the Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong, has been pivotal in the development of a number of innovative companies and industries in the region.
“This critical infrastructure project is an excellent example of universities working together with governments and the private sector to leverage investment, create local jobs and deliver transformative outcomes for our community.”
Local jobs, global impact
Professor Owens said the ManuFutures 2 hub and accelerator would expand the range of services to support product design and engineering in regional Victoria, while providing immediate stimulus to Geelong’s construction sector.
“ManuFutures is already home to 13 businesses, and that will more than double when this 3000-sqm purpose-built construction is complete. ManuFutures 2 will support a further 15 enterprises and 150 people involved in sustainable manufacturing industries from post-incubation (proof of concept) through to multinationals.”Professor Julie Owens | Deakin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Deakin University
“The programs to develop and support manufacturing in regional Victoria as part of this investment will support many more enterprises and jobs.
“Deakin is a local university with global impact. We aim to translate our research into commercial, economic and social outcomes that help improve the future of communities. Together with our partners, Deakin leverages end-to-end solutions in areas of emerging national importance.
“ManuFutures 2 will be an exciting addition to the Geelong Future Economy Precinct and our Waurn Ponds Campus, and will enrich the research, innovation and manufacturing capabilities of Victoria and Australia.”
The Geelong Future Economy Precinct integrates Deakin’s high-level research capabilities with specialised research equipment and industrial-scale infrastructure. In just over five years, the Precinct has led to the creation of over 1000 jobs through industry partnerships and co-location opportunities, and some of Australia’s, and the world’s leading advanced manufacturers now call the Precinct home.
The ManuFutures 2 project will deliver a new, fully fitted out and staffed Product Engineering Development Laboratory, six adjustable sized expansion bays and associated offices. It will also boast a dedicated community and multifunctional space for events, training, industry collaboration and networking.
The new project will be up and running in the coming months, with the new building slated to accept tenants in late 2022. Partner organisations already confirmed as tenants in the new building include lithium sulphur battery manufacturer, Li-S Energy, textile technology company, Xefco and engineering training company, Victech.