12 / November / 2019

ARIP Conference Connecting Our Regions


Posted 12 November 2019

Conference Connecting Our Regions

Delegates from across Queensland’s diverse regions descended on Mackay this month for the annual two-day Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP) Conference.

The 2019 conference focused on the theme of Connected Regions and featured key note presentations, workshops and activities to help build meaningful collaboration across Queensland’s innovation eco-system.

Hosted by Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday ARIP partner Split Spaces – a co-working and events hub located at Central Queensland University’s Mackay City campus – the conference attracted 30 regional delegates from across Queensland.

This year delegates stretched from Mt Isa and Longreach in the west to Atherton and Mareeba in the north to Hervey Bay and Bundaberg in the Wide Bay and those from the south east corner to share and learn about our regional innovation eco-systems.

Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson opened the conference with University of Sunshine Coast researcher, Dr Retha De Villiers Scheepers delivering a keynote interactive session on measuring and benchmarking innovation in regional Queensland.

As part of the activities, ARIP recipient, Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) arranged for delegates to visit some of Mackay’s innovation hotspots including Linked Group Services, Mackay Conveyor Equipment and CQU’s State-of-the-art Engineering Precinct at Ooralea.

Attending the event, Smart Precinct NQ, Community Engagement Manager, Nicole Lucas said the conference wasvital for building face-to-face connections and provided invaluable opportunities to learn from the successes of other ARIP regions.

"It's always so valuable to get together with the other regions, and discuss innovation and learn from each other's experiences,” Ms Lucas said.

“The stand out for me was learning that a strategic approach to activating and connecting with our communities and stakeholders is vital.

"We need to commit to working together with other regions to share resources, collaborate and connect to build critical mass as that will be the thing that really moves the needle and makes us sustainable into the future."

Some key outcomes from the conference included project collaboration between regions; establishing regular zoom facilitated meetings between stakeholders; sharing of opportunities to engage and share more international speakers into multiple regions; as well as commencing early planning to ensure a strong regional presence at QODE 2020 – Queensland’s Innovation Festival.

Moreton Bay Regional Innovation Coordinator, Steve Butler said the conference was an effective way to plan for regional innovation in the future.

“The conference really assists ARIP regions to consider their ecosystems and identify where to focus their activities to maximise impact and growth,” Mr Butler said.

“Spending two days with other community leaders and likeminded individuals has allowed us to identify multiple collaborative opportunities – opportunities made possible due to the support of Advance Queensland and the Advancing Regional Innovation Program.”

Visit the website to find out how the ARIP is supporting your region, including who to contact to get involved in upcoming regional events and activities.