|This is the intro to our nine-part series on Australia Asia innovation. Read the next story here.|
The massive industrialisation and rocketing populations of China, India and other rapidly developing nations have triggered a major shift from the previous century’s Euro- and US-centric economy to a predominantly Asian one. Australia is well placed to cash in on this market, thanks to some special advantages, such as proximity and shared time zones.
But that might not be enough, some academics warn. The University of Melbourne’s Professor Tim Lindsey, Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law, urges Australia to engage more effectively with these nations to avoid being a “bit player” in the Asian century.
Nevertheless, when we looked into the track record of Australian commercialisation in Asia, we found Australia had already achieved some major technological successes – nine of which are profiled in this in-depth series.
One of Australia’s most renowned innovation success stories, Cochlear Ltd – which has had strong partnerships with three successive Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) – cites China as “a huge potential market”, according to CEO Dr Chris Roberts.
Meanwhile, VisionCRC, in partnership with Zhongshan Ophthalmic Centre in China, has demonstrated a new generation of optical products that can slow the progression of myopia (short-sightedness) in children aged 6-12.
Rubicon Water – an offshoot of the CRC for Sensor Signal and Information Processing and a partner of the University of Melbourne – has developed a water-management system in China’s drought-stricken Yellow River Basin that could improve water efficiency by up to 20% and be implemented at one-quarter of the cost of traditional systems.
Then there is MBD Energy, which is looking to tackle China’s unique $250 million algae problem along the Shandong coast between Shanghai and Beijing. MBD aims to turn those algal blooms into useful, natural soil conditioners.
Many other organisations built on CRC research or collaboration are looking to Asia for research and industry partnerships, clients and customers, taking Australia Asia innovation partnerships to extraordinary new heights. – Heather Catchpole
Next: Irrigation innovation