Edith Cowan University & Economic Development Australia – Partnering for the future



An example of how a university can support and flourish on a national stage

Neil Butler
Edith Cowan University

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Darren Gibson
Edith Cowan University

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Mark Holdsworth
City of Canning & Economic Development Australia

Outcomes and impact of the case
Outcomes to date have been numerous. The ability for ECU to be exposed in the local government arena, accessing existing and well-established networks as well as learning industry best practice has been invaluable to our academic and professional staff community.
• THE LINK
In July 2016, THE LINK was created to support and develop the partnerships between academia, industry and government. In its current form, THE LINK is a virtual portal that, as the name suggests, creates a fast-track platform for bringing people together. Networks, events, consultation, research and development, student internships, governance and support are some of the services that are provided through a unique partnership between the City of Joondalup and ECU. In conjunction with ECU’s robust relationship with EDA and the extended networks available, an ability to promote the virtual platform and increase the level of engagement with our communities has developed even further.
• The National Economic Development Conference 2016
The outcomes and impacts of the National Conference will be shared post-event. The University can feel the momentum gaining.
• ConnectED
An App is currently being developed in partnership with three local governments (City of Swan, City of Wanneroo and the City of Joondalup). The App, ConnectED, will initially be used as a platform for the 2016 National Economic Development Conference, with branding prominently displayed for the delegation as well as a comprehensive component consisting of University e-brochures, papers, events and documentation. The App will continue post-conference as a real-time medium for communicating with businesses, community and Economic Development practitioners; all four partners are excited about this possibility.
• Memorandum of Understanding between ECU and the City of Swan
A strategic MoU was put in place in September 2015 to support a strong, long-term working partnership between the City and ECU. Research opportunities, Work Integrated Learning student placements, student projects, shared events and consultative activities are already taking place.
• Economic Development Australia Board Membership
ECU now has a position on a strategic State Practitioners Network board for Western Australia. The board meets regularly and is pro-actively seeking University support to expand the reach of EDA. The relationship is mutually beneficial on many levels.
• Innovation Bloom and future Innovation Series events
The inaugural Innovation Series event focussed on local innovation and was attended by business, academics, government. Presentations and panel discussions were interactive and well-received. The success of this initial event will pave the way for future ones. The Queensland Government is now interested in the series being replicated on the east coast. The venue for the Innovation Bloom was ECU’s state-of-the-art facility, Ngoolark, located on its Joondalup campus.
The impact of these activities will be assessed at various stages over the next couple of years but the early signs are very promising. EDA’s national membership currently stands at 320 (May 2016) and expansion is anticipated with the launch of a new website in 2017. Memberships are expected to double with the additional of a new corporate membership portal, additional opportunity will be made for ECU to engage on a plethora of activities including research, student placements and graduate employment, consultation, networking events, educational packages, professional development, facility sharing and knowledge transfer.