In a move to collaborate, unlock innovation and drive change, business and university leaders from the Illawarra joined more than 80 key government and industry stakeholders in the Hunter.
Hosted at UON's Q Building, the event A Tale of Two Cities, focused on how the two regions' businesses and communities can best leverage rapid advances in innovation, highlight the opportunities and barriers to success, and discuss what is needed to support the workforce of the future.
University of Newcastle vice chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky said he was pleased to again partner with UOW as their communities shared similar challenges and opportunities to grow and transition.
"Our two regions have a strikingly similar history as industrial regional centres, and similarly both universities are absolutely committed to working with our partners to grow new industries for the benefit of our communities," he said.
He said the event reinforced each of the universities have the innovation capabilities, and the industry relationships to meet the demands of new economies that will shape their regions for the next 10 to 20 years.
"We understand that we need more skilled people to keep pace with technology development and the changing nature of work, and this is felt even more acutely regionally," he said.
The event featured a keynote address by Google Australia's engineering site lead and director of cross Google engineering, Daniel Nadasi.
Mr Nadasi reflected on the changing nature of innovation and the broader economic landscape, and how education institutions, business and government can work together to plan for future workforce needs, and different work practices.
The event included two panel discussions on Innovation Opportunities and Innovation and Future Workforce that featured leaders from government, business and the education sector.
The panel and Q&A focused on what innovation opportunities and barriers there are, and how stakeholders can work together and prepare to support the workforce of the future.
UOW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson said Wollongong and Newcastle share a remarkably parallel history.
"Likewise, our universities both serve as anchor institutions, collaborating with partners to foster new industries in our regions," Professor Davidson said.
"Through our research and expertise, we are helping businesses and industry to access new technologies and adopt sustainable practices. Through our education and training we are equipping our graduates for the evolving workforce of the future, in sectors such as clean energy, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.
"These sectors stand at the forefront of innovation, and it's within this arena that our universities are truly demonstrating their value to our communities."
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