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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has officially launched the NUW Alliance, a partnership between the universities of New South Wales, Newcastle and Wollongong dedicated to finding smart solutions to the State's biggest challenges.

Ms Berejiklian witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the three partners at a ceremony held in central Sydney.

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said the NUW Alliance was a commitment by the three research-intensive universities to the future of the State.

“Universities have a leading role to play in the development of smart solutions,” Professor Jacobs said.

“The NUW Alliance will harness the combined power of the three institutions’ multidisciplinary research, education expertise and innovative thinking to explore and deliver ways to enhance equality of opportunity, create new jobs and generate economic growth.

“To date we have been looking at a number of areas where we believe we can make a difference, such as energy security, unlocking the benefits of big data, improving healthcare solutions and creating liveable communities. But we want to make sure we are meeting the needs of the communities we are aiming to serve.

“For that reason, we are opening up to communities for input on what they think the priorities of the Alliance should be.”


Front (L-R): Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW Vice-Chancellor; Professor Carolie McMillen, UoN Vice-Chancellor; Professor Paul Wellings, UoW Vice-Chancellor. Rear (L-R): Mr Paul Jean, Chancellor UON; NSW Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells; Premier Gladys Berejiklian; Ms Jillian Segal, Deputy Chancellor UNSW; Ms Jillian Broadbent Chancellor UoW.

University of Newcastle President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen said the NUW Alliance was keen to understand what the challenges for communities were and where gaps in research and knowledge might be contributing to those challenges.

“Each of the universities in the NUW Alliance has distinct strengths in education, research and innovation that contribute to the economic prosperity and social well-being of the cities and regions they serve.

“By combining those strengths and directing them toward the big challenges facing our state, we will make an enduring and transformational impact on the future for our communities.”

University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings said the Alliance, which had a geographical reach from the Mid North Coast to the South Coast of NSW, was calling on the business, industry, education and health sectors to contribute their time and ideas to help identify transformational projects.

“The NUW Alliance demonstrates that our universities not only help our students reach their full potential, but also our communities,” Professor Wellings said.

“This is why it is important for us to consult widely to identify priorities in our communities so we can get to work in delivering smarter solutions for New South Wales.”

The consultation period – expected to last up to six months – will identify areas where the combined higher education ‘firepower’ can make a lasting difference to the ability of individuals, businesses and communities to thrive and prosper.

The broad community consultation follows consideration of NSW State Plan priorities and initial discussions between the three universities, which have canvassed opportunities to:

  • develop skills in critically important new sectors such as cyber security
  • apply ‘Smart Cities’ technologies to improve the connectivity, productivity and liveability of our regional cities and coastal communities
  • create greater access to higher education for stuL:izadents in regional and remote communities – including Indigenous students
  • partner with health services to improve health outcomes for the community, including for some of the most disadvantaged groups in the state

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  • Centred around the Mid North Coast, Hunter, Central Coast, Sydney, Illawarra and South Coast regions, the area covered by the NUW Alliance is home to more than 25 per cent of Australia’s population and 75 per cent of NSW’s population.
  • The Universities of Newcastle, New South Wales and Wollongong collectively teach more than 121,000 students in 25 campuses across NSW and overseas. Some 88,000 are domestic students and almost 33,000 are international onshore and offshore students.
  • They collectively operate 14 innovation and entrepreneurship hubs from the Illawarra to the upper Hunter.
  • In 2015, the three universities netted a combined research income of more than half a billion dollars, including more than $112 million from industry research partners.