Australian university-industry and university-community partnerships are growing in number and importance and are making a vital contribution to the nation’s future, said Dr Peter Binks, CEO of the Business Higher Education Round Table.

Dr Binks was commenting following the annual celebration and showcase of outstanding high-impact business-university partnerships – the 2018 BHERT Awards for Australian Industry-University Collaboration, presented at a gala dinner at the Park Hyatt Melbourne on Tuesday November 13, hosted by the author and broadcaster, Dr Julia Baird.

Spanning enterprises in research and development, higher education and training, community engagement, and national (non-economic) benefit, this year’s Award recipients had “demonstrated the high level impact of business-university and community-university collaboration in Australia”, he added.

Acknowledging the high quality of the applications and of the finalists, Dr Binks said 2018 had seen the highest number of entries in the BHERT Awards’ 21 years.

The Award winners – who come from across Australia – “addressed the nation’s most important challenges in the economy and broader society” and the 25 finalists and six winners were “outstanding partnerships”, he said.

“Our Panel was impressed by the strength and impact of these partnerships, and the commitment by businesses and universities to work together.”


Partnerships saving lives, generating millions of dollars in GDP

This year’s winners include an academy to assist students on the autism spectrum in securing roles in the IT industry; a major partnership supporting the international competitiveness of Australia’s food industries; Australia’s largest science and engineering challenge for school students; a powerful collaboration to address disadvantage in Indigenous health; and a revolutionary approach to cancer treatment.

Dr Binks said the 79 Award applications involved more than 30 universities “and well over 200 Australian companies, in just about every sector of the Australian economy and community”.

“Many of the partnerships had been in place for several decades, had saved lives, generated millions of dollars in GDP, resulted in new companies, and shaped the way we deal with disadvantaged communities.”

BHERT also honoured regional Victorian leader and Deakin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander AO, for her work in establishing Geelong as one of Australia’s most vibrant innovation precincts.


The 2018 BHERT Award Winners


Outstanding Collaboration in Research and Development (Industry Partnership)

Project: The Monash Program of Research for the Food and Dairy Industry

Partners: Monash University, Soochow University, University of Queensland, Bega Cheese, Devondale Murray Goulburn, Fonterra Australia, Gardiner Foundation, COFCO NHRI, Mengniu Dairy, Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science, Food Innovation Centre, Simplot, Dollar Sweets, Lion, Tamu Innovations, Treasury Wine Estates, Meat and Livestock Australia, Agriculture Victoria, Land O’Lakes Inc., South Dakota State University, Dairy Management Inc.


Outstanding Collaboration in Research and Development (Technology Development)

Project: Viralytics: Immunotherapy-Based Cancer Treatment

Partners:  The University of Newcastle, Viralytics, MSD Australia, Merck & Co. Inc, the Hunter Medical Research Institute.


Outstanding Collaboration for National (Non-Economic) Benefit

Project: Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance

Partners: Curtin University, BHP, Bankwest, Deloitte, Planit Testing, rerisk Pty Ltd, ACS Foundation, Department of Training and Workforce Development, Autism Association of Western Australia, Autism West, Therapy Focus, CoderDojo WA, AASQA@Kalgoorlie, Willetton Senior High School, The Ian Potter Foundation, Bennelong Foundation, Rotary Club of Willetton.


Outstanding Collaboration in Higher Education and Training

Project: Indigenous Health Education and Workforce Development

Partners: The University of Queensland and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health.


Outstanding Collaboration in Community Engagement

Project: The Science and Engineering Challenge

Partners: University of Newcastle, Rotary, Office of NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Google, Defence Force Recruiting, Laing O’Rourke, Port Waratah Coal Services, Yancoal, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, Port of Newcastle and 27 supporting Australian universities.


The Ashley Goldsworthy Award for Individual Leadership in University-Business Collaboration

Awarded to Professor Jane den Hollander AO, Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University for outstanding leadership in driving collaborations with local, state and national organisations. In particular, Professor den Hollander has driven Deakin University to play
a pivotal role in the economic, social and cultural life of Geelong, Victoria’s largest regional city.


The 2018 BHERT Awards were sponsored by: Cisco Systems Australia and New Zealand; The University of Queensland; University of Technology Sydney; the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources; the Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and the Westpac Group.

Established by BHERT in 1998, the BHERT Awards seek to recognise outstanding and innovative high impact university partnerships with business and the community in Australia.




BHERT was established in 1990 to strengthen the relationship between business, industry and the higher education sector. It is the only national organisation with members who are leaders in higher education, business, industry and professional associations.

BHERT has addressed many key industry-university topics, such as cybersecurity, workforce development strategy, technology management and commercialisation, and innovation precincts. Through its initiatives, the organisation takes a leadership position on behalf of its members in working with stakeholders including governments, and supporting key relationships across the public and private sectors.

* To learn more about the event and BHERT contact Peter Binks on


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