How do two seemingly opposing areas – industry and research – combine to form a harmonious, mutually beneficial synergy? Rupal Ismin, who has a wealth of experience in developing structures to support innovative businesses, created the University’s Sydney Knowledge Hub (SKH) which addresses this very problem.
SKH’s dynamic, innovative initiative is a haven for start-ups, non profits and organisations seeking resources, support and a place to expand and grow. Manoeuvring through a university’s bureaucracy can be daunting for industry. “We help industry navigate the university,” says Rupal. “It’s a matter of knowing who to talk to and exploiting underutilised resources, like 3D printers or core research facilities, introduction to IP lawyers to assist in evaluating patents, or sourcing an abundance of talented interns.”
Corporates can use the SKH as their primary source of work. But the Hub offers more than just office space. Acting in the role of the concierge, it unlocks resources and connects ideas and products in a casual, comfortable environment.
“Universities are a breeding ground for truly innovative solutions,” she adds. “Breakthrough innovations generally require a long incubation period, which Universities almost uniquely can provide."
“Having an association with a top ranked university gives a credibility bump for products in the early stage of work,” says Rupal.
Faculty of Medicine and Health’s Professor Patrick Brennan, CEO and co-founder of the University’s DetectED-X stressed, "you cannot overestimate the value of having such a prestigious home base. We would not have had a chance (with hospital partnerships in China) without this address.”
DetectED-X is a University of Sydney start-up that invented the world’s first tool to improve the COVID-19 diagnosis, free, and online.
The benefits stretch beyond what the university has to offer. Industry can leverage their funding with government schemes that match every dollar that the research is producing.
Several start-ups have formed powerful connections in establishing their business globally. Dr Amani Batarseh, the chief scientist of the Breast Cancer for Blood Screening organisation, BCAL Diagnostics, is now running studies in the USA to develop novel technology in the BCAL test.
“It has been a great experience and we developed deep and meaningful relationships with researchers at The University of Sydney and beyond,” says Amani. “Given our expertise in lipidomics and mass spectrometry, paired with deep collaborations with industry, we have been assisting other University researchers in a great environment of symbiotic learning.”