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WA Interface highlights innovation hub opportunity - 18 October 2017

Chemistry Australia has announced the development of a WA Chemistry Industry Innovation Hub at the second WA Interface Function in Perth, with Guest of Honour the Hon. Dave Kelly MLA.

WA Interface highlights innovation hub opportunity

Chemistry Australia members, government representatives, regulators and friends of the industry gathered in Perth for the second WA Interface Function, hosted by KPMG.

Guest of Honour the Hon. Dave Kelly MLA, Minister for Water; Fisheries; Forestry; Innovation and ICT; Science, addressed the audience, highlighting the Western Australian Government’s focus on innovation and developing the State’s valuable STEM capability.

Minister Kelly highlighted new initiatives by the McGowan Government, including tasking the Chief Scientist of Western Australia with the development of a STEM Strategy Roadmap, and the commitment to build 200 new science labs in public schools.

The Minister told the audience, “Innovation is not just a buzz word. The challenge is to make it concrete and create jobs.” He welcomed the work of Chemistry Australia in encouraging collaboration between industry, research and academia. Good ideas often come just from bringing people together. We understand the importance of innovation hubs,” said Minister Kelly.

Chemistry Australia is in the process of establishing a WA Chemistry Industry Innovation Hub to be led by Curtin University. Jonathan Clancy, Chemistry Australia Chair and Global People Strategy Director & Government Liaison for Qenos parent company ChemChina, announced the new initiative at the event.

“This is about connecting WA’s world-leading researchers, industry capability and technology, to collaborate on innovation opportunities with global scale,” said Mr Clancy.

Chemistry Australia CEO Samantha Read said that innovation in chemistry is helping to solve some of the biggest challenges the world faces today. This includes saving energy through the production of more energy efficient materials; providing solutions for water transportation and storage and increasing food production with improvements in soil, crop and fertiliser technologies.

“Western Australia is enviably placed to deliver these products. The key elements for a thriving chemical industry are right here: the chemical feedstocks and strong value-chains; access to international markets; and the State’s wealth of resources. This includes key elements for new technologies – such as battery storage – that could transform energy markets,” said Ms Read.

Mr Clancy said that the business of chemistry is a significant supplier of innovation into the Australian economy. Business expenditure on research and development in WA totalled $2.73bn in 2013/14, with manufacturing-based R&D the second highest innovation investor at $566m.

He also highlighted statistics from the 2017 Global Innovation Index showing that Australia is ranked 12th for innovation input, but 30th for innovation output.

“So this shines a light on where there is room for improvement ­– targeting the low rates of IP commercialisation. Fundamentally, there needs to be a market for innovation. This means understanding the needs of the customer, and the customer’s customer. Successful innovation ecosystems are founded on collaboration, and the courage to implement,” said Mr Clancy.

Bringing together the key players in the innovation economy to collaborate on innovation outcomes, is the foundation of the Chemistry Australia Innovation and Talent work plan.

The Association has already engaged more than 70 industry and supply chain partners with research and academia, across seven innovation and talent programs, with more than $120m in collective funding.

The WA Chemistry Industry Innovation Hub, led by Curtin University, Chemistry Australia, together with CSIRO and industry, will contribute both technology and talent innovation outcomes, including:

  • Improvements to chemical and plant operations that reduce costs and energy use
  • Development of new materials and products that help customers be more globally competitive
  • Digital product extension, including digital mapping and analysis
  • Strengthened graduate and postgraduate interaction with industry, leading to more students gaining first-hand industry experience, and more talent being identified
  • Research gaining deeper insights into industry needs

Thanks to our host KPMG Innovate

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Through the KPMG innovation journey, businesses can discover how to identify opportunities and create strategy that drives the implementation of innovation initiatives. Turning ideas into meaningful outcomes. The dedicated KPMG Innovate team can help by providing leading methodologies to drive creative change.

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Media contacts:
Claire Selby – [email protected] or 0448 028 876
Krista Imberger – [email protected] or 0439 318 290


Chemistry Australia is the pre-eminent national body representing the $40 billion Australian chemistry industry, one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the country. The industry employs more than 60,000 people and contributes more than $11.6 billion to GDP in industry value add. Members of Chemistry Australia are positioned across the entire value chain including manufacturers, importers and distributors, logistics and supply chain partners, raw material suppliers, fabricators, compounders, recyclers, research, academia and service providers to the industry. These businesses range from small family-owned companies to leading national and multinational enterprises.



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