Issue 5
Monday, 02 July 2018
Charles Darwin University
Professor Simon Maddocks at the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Alice Springs
Professor Simon Maddocks at the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Alice Springs

Innovation key to flourishing future in North

By Patrick Nelson

The future of Northern Australia is inextricably linked to a healthy tertiary education and research sector, delegates at a major conference in Alice Springs were told recently.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said tertiary institutions needed to reform and renew in response to a challenging and disruptive environment, characterised by funding and policy uncertainty, technological disruption, difficult-to-predict workforce requirements and other factors.
“We have to ask ourselves, what are we, what do we do and who are we for?”
Professor Maddocks said the sector needed to engage in the original thinking for which 19th Century British naturalist Charles Darwin was renowned.
“It is innovation and creativity, such as that demonstrated by our university’s namesake, which will bridge the dangerous mismatch between the past and the current reality. It is innovation and creativity that is our purpose and it is this that we need to articulate better.
“What this ultimately demonstrates is the need to invest in knowledge, skills and innovation; the need to adapt.”
Professor Maddocks made the comments as a keynote speaker at the Developing Northern Australia Conference in the Red Centre on 19 June.
Hosted by the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc at the Alice Springs Convention Centre, the two-day conference gave a wide audience the opportunity to discuss how implementation of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing the North is travelling.
“Clearly, we cannot and will not rest on our laurels in this transformative age; it is not in our nature to do so,” Professor Maddocks said.
“We will continue to thrive so long as we remain committed to creativity, innovation and discovery, which will continue to be the foundations of our universities and tertiary institutions in the North.”
Several others from CDU also addressed the conference, including Professor Jenny Davis, Dr Heather Gibb, Dr Rebecca Murray and Dr Kevin Williams.
Charles Darwin University supported the conference as sponsor of the Welcome Dinner.