Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Mayoral candidate Susie Douglas has outlined her vision for the Gold Coast as a “knowledge city” that not only fosters the highest standards of education and innovation among residents, but also attracts researchers and academics from overseas.

One of Cr Douglas’s main priorities if elected mayor is to focus on Gold Coast universities to help them market themselves internationally in order to help bring the best and brightest to the city.

“There are some truly world-class projects being undertaken at our universities, and yet, as a city we don’t take a holistic approach to telling the world about this,” Cr Douglas says.

“I am currently investigating the possibility of developing a publication that would be similar to the Harvard Business Review that would cover the best research and innovations of our four universities while promoting our city at the same time.

“This would form part of a broader push I would take as mayor to encourage the best and brightest from around the world to come to the Gold Coast and get involved in or set up research projects at our universities.

“This would also include a renewed marketing push at international education, an industry which is worth almost $500 million to the Gold Coast, to shape our image as being on of the best places to live while learning and researching.”

Cr Douglas says as research opportunities around the world are becoming scarcer, the Gold Coast can rely on a strong Australian economy to attract international research fellows to the city.

“Given the fact that funding research isn’t high on the list of priorities for a number of other economies, we are in an excellent position to bring researchers here to build on the already strong knowledge base that we have,” Cr Douglas says.

Cr Douglas says apart from focus on higher education her innovation policy would also save the city money and provide employment opportunities for Gold Coasters.

“Innovation isn’t just about new ideas, its also about finding ways to do things better, and Council could be taking steps internally in order to foster innovative ideas and provide knowledge-based employment,” Cr Douglas says.

“For example a number of years ago the Gold Coast City Council developed and built the large mechanical beach cleaners that we still see being used today.

“This is Gold Coast-developed, world-class technology that we have since gifted to Dubai, where it’s been put to work removing waste from beaches right across their coastline.

“As mayor I would look to expand on opportunities like this by assembling a commercialisation team within council that would be responsible for assisting in the development of such innovations, while providing clear paths to market for the sale of the IP.

“This could provide a massive additional source of revenue for the Gold Coast City Council, as well as creating additional jobs for the community.”

Cr Douglas says innovation should also be fostered at a young age, with the continuation and added support for a number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs if elected mayor.

“As a city we need to encourage our children and schools to become more involved in new technologies and the opportunities they can provide,” Cr Douglas says.

“If elected mayor I will support science, engineering and technology awards and investigate how we can link the 400 odd education and training providers located here for division and city wide competitions.

“This will all help to develop international recognition of the city as a place that values the power of innovation, and ultimately add some diversity to our largely tourism and construction focused image.

“I see this as a vital part of our city truly coming of age.”

Contact Profile

Bruce Nelson

P: 0423 403 449
M: +61 (0) 423 403 449


Mayoral Candidate, Gold Coast, Susie Douglas, innovation opportunities, universities



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