Research collaboration between academics and industry is crucial to innovation in the construction sector according to Federal Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Craig Laundy, who has praised the University of Technology Sydney for its track record in forging building industry relationships.
Speaking on Wednesday at the Building Knowledge Information Research Forum, co-convened by the UTS School of Built Environment and the Australian Institute of Building (AIB), Mr Laundy said, "It's excellent to see UTS involved in business-research collaborations – particularly in the construction field, where informatics technology is leading to accelerated efficiency, productivity and innovation."
The forum was established to connect UTS researchers directly with industry representatives, provide researchers with the opportunity of gaining clear insights into the specific challenges that the industry is facing and propose research collaborations to address these issues.
Mr Laundy remarked on the value of researchers working closely with industry to solve problems and drive innovation and efficiency in the built environment sector.
"Research by its very nature is innovative. We know that innovation contributes to productivity and job creation. It's great to see university researchers connecting with industry to secure research outcomes that deliver solutions to real world problems," Mr Laundy said.
The forum included industry representatives from a broad range of areas, including glass technology, 5D construction estimating, 4D programming, solar panel technology, smart buildings and building information modelling (BIM) design.
Hera Antoniades, Director of Applied Research in the Built Environment at UTS, said that the forum was highly constructive for UTS researchers.
"Meeting in this way has helped us to acquire a deeper understanding of relevant issues and problems currently facing the built environment industry. We are very excited at the prospect of forging new relationships and developing new research collaborations that will tackle these issues," she said.
UTS researchers are currently involved in a number of significant research partnerships with industry and governments.
UTS's Associate Professor Sara Wilkinson and Professor Peter Ralph are working on research that is intended to lead to the first living algae building in Australia – harnessing the unique properties of algae that could potentially provide hot water and heat living spaces, fertilise rooftop gardens and filter vehicle exhaust fumes.
The project team has recently completed a feasibility study funded by the City of Sydney, and is now collaborating with leading construction and engineering firm to fabricate the Australian-first panels on campus at UTS in 2017.