THE LINK: A collaboration between Edith Cowan University and the City of Joondalup to drive innovation within the Northern Corridor of Perth, Western Australia.

An example of a program, THE LINK will stimulate and facilitate innovation growth within Perth’s Northern Corridor via sustained engagement between academia, industry and government. THE LINK will connect businesses and academic researchers to develop innovative solutions to solve real-life problems, foster growth, increase competitiveness and facilitate commercialisation of innovations to benefit the wider community.

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Darren Gibson
Edith Cowan University

LinkedIn profile Research Gate profile

Steve Marmion
City of Joondalup

Vicki Hodgson
Edith Cowan University

Outcomes and impact of the case
THE LINK website has already started to make a positive contribution, by linking the Northern corridor of Perth community with the National innovation eco-system. Educational and networking events are open to all members of the community, presenting a range of opportunities in which like-minded and innovative people and entities can connect.

THE LINK has stimulated a range of new collaborative activities between businesses and many of the ECU's Schools including research, student placements and community engagements. It has also fostered a broader cultural change of collaboration with many of the local key stakeholders within the project. It is proposed that these changes will bring long-term benefits to the local ecosystem and impact positively to the economic prosperity of the community.

• Increase research activity between the University and industry
o Monthly, 5-10 business enquiries seek research collaborations with ECU.

• Increase student engagement with industry
o Monthly, 5-10 business enquiries seek student placements with ECU

• Increase graduate opportunities with industry (long-term outcome)
o To date; there has been no increase in graduate opportunities.

• Develop the COJ reputation as an innovative global city (long-term outcome)
o The launch of the COJ Innovation Fund and national exposure of THE LINK has increased the reputation of COJ as an innovative city.
o 2 businesses have been assisted by the Fund each with a $20,000 grant to develop their innovative business idea

• Improve the University’s reputation as an innovative university (long-term outcome)
o The reputation of ECU has increased by gaining national exposure with links to, but not limited to, CSIRO, the University of Wollongong and Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre. ECU has also gained excellent State exposure via links to all State Universities, Government and the Start-up Ecosystem.
o The development of the virtual innovation network has increased communications between all the major entities: ECU, COJ, Business Station (Management group running several Small Business Incubators), Sixty27 and THE Hybrid 365 (co-working spaces), North Metro TAFE, Joondalup and Wanneroo Business Associations.
o THE LINK website itself is focused on the user journey and providing a wealth of information, collaborative success stories, direction and the opportunity for innovators and businesses to connect with the right people.
• In June 2016, the website was officially launched, over 220 key stakeholders from business, academia and government, including Matt Taylor, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State Development, Finance and Innovation attended.
• Since launch, the website has attracted wide media interest and coverage, garnered considerable interest with >4000 hits/month
o Launch of THE LINK social media (July 2016): Facebook (43 likes) and Twitter (118 followers)
o ECU Watermark Get Linked networking series
• Launched in 2014 (original title: Enterprise Tuesday) to network and discuss the entrepreneur journey (8 sessions/ year) with 560 attendees (in total).
• In 2016 the ECU Watermark Get Linked was launched with an increased focus on innovation and forming national / international connections. There will be 6 sessions/year and to date there have been 160 attendees (4 sessions)
o In early 2017, ECU will launch its first Accelerator program

• Attract Large Business / State Government to relocate to Joondalup
o State Government departments will be relocating in 2019 to Joondalup. Construction of a building to house 800 public servants has commenced.

• THE LINK has created an easy to navigate website that provides users with the necessary information about innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaborating with ECU.
• The long-term impacts for the project will be:
o the recognition of Joondalup City Centre as a Primary Centre
o COJ achieving its target of 20,000 new jobs by 2031
o ECU becoming an innovative university with strong links to industry