The University yesterday officially opened its new Tonsley building at an event attended by around 400 guests, including representatives from government, higher education, business and industry, as well as Flinders staff and students.
The facility was opened by the Federal Industry and Science Minster, Mr Ian McFarlane. Biomedical engineer Professor Karen Reynolds was master of ceremonies, and there were speeches from Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling, Mr Macfarlane and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.
The event was a celebration of the University’s $120 million investment in Flinders at Tonsley to co-locate its School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, with the Medical Device Research Institute, Centre for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Flinders’ commercialisation agent, Flinders Partners and the New Venture Institute which connects the University to businesses and entrepreneurs.
In his speech, the Vice-Chancellor spoke of the future role of the new Flinders facility a “an engine room of ideas, innovation, entrepreneurship and business engagement”.
“Here, our students can interact with business, and business can interact with researchers in areas such as engineering, medical devices and nanoscale technologies to create the new products and processes of the 21st Century – and beyond,” Professor Stirling said.
Mr MacFarlane described the new facility as an illustration of both the changing nature of global manufacturing, as well as the opportunities for growth in Australian jobs and industries.
“Australia’s industries of the future, like those being developed at Flinders at Tonsley, will be focused on innovation, research and reaching into global market places and global supply chains,” Mr MacFarlane said.
“In high-performing, modern economies, businesses, scientists and researchers work together – just as they will at Flinders at Tonsley.”
Mr Weatherill congratulated Flinders on its achievement at Tonsley, which, he said, is “instrumental in the State Government’s $253 million investment in this innovation district, driving the industrial transformation of South Australia’s economy”.
Mr Macfarlane unveiled a plaque marking the opening jointly with Baxter, a trainable industrial robot developed by a company established by Dr Rodney Brooks, a distinguished Flinders alumnus.
VIPs were then escorted on a tour of the new facilities by the Dean of the School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Professor John Roddick.
Flinders has also announced an even closer collaboration between the University and network provider Cisco through the establishment of a new chair to attract a world-renowned academic in the field of innovative health technologies to support research undertaken at Tonsley.