Monday, August 06, 2012

Clean Green Digital Future for Canberra

Speaking at the annual town-gown technology event at ANU University House this evening, respected ICT entrepreneur Brand Hoff suggested a digital future for Canberra, as reflected in the Canberra Business Council (CBC) submission to the ACT Innovation Future Program For a Clean Green Digital City.

The CBC proposal has merit. Some of the ideas being undertaken on a small scale in Canberra and these just need to be expanded and linked up. As an example the ANU and University of Canberra run a successful "Innovation ACT" program to help students are researchers transform discoveries into products.

However, the proposal for the public to make tax deductible carbon offsets contributions for six and eight cylinder cars is not a good one. A more financially and environmentally effective way to reduce carbon emissions would be to encourage these people to replace their cars with more fuel efficient four cylinder models and make more use of public transport. One relatively quick and cheap way I have suggested to reduce Canberra's vehicle emissions is to convert one lane of Northborne Avenue into a bus lane.
This is a proposal is for a community-based catalyst program that aims to encourage research institutions, government agencies, and business to jointly focus on problems and develop ideas and solutions that improve the productivity and living standards of the Canberra community.

The resultant products and systems will be available for export to other parts of Australia and to the world.

Canberra is the headquarters for a number of nationally significant research organisations—the CSIRO, The ANU, NICTA, University of Canberra, UNSW@ADFA and several think tank organisations. There are a number of investors interested in new technology ventures protected by strong Intellectual Property.

Canberra has a highly educated population who work in business and government and in many small entrepreneurial companies that are in business to commercialize technologies and develop ideas and service opportunities in Canberra.

The Canberra community is known for its willingness to implement new ideas and solutions.

These characteristics contribute to a unique innovation ecosystem in Canberra but the capacity to generate an increased flow of new business opportunities, in the form of new products and services, is constrained by the relatively small scale of each of its constituent institutions.

The catalyst program, tentatively called Digital City: Canberra Innovation Future Program will provide a framework for encouraging research organisations, business, government and the community to submit proposals for commercialisation, built around collaboration and cooperation. It will be a team-based competition, with cross institutional partnership being a condition of entry.

A Clean Green Digital City Fund will be established to fund successful proposals. The fund will receive an initial investment from the ACT Government, research organisations and business. The fund will be managed by a Board of Trustees.

The Digital City: Canberra Innovation Future Program will operate on the following basis:
  • A community-based innovation competition for ideas and challenges. It will follow models successfully operating elsewhere in Australia and overseas.
  • All projects must be for the betterment of the Canberra community or organization
  • Ten prizes will be awarded annually (monthly Feb-Nov) which will be used towards the development of Business Plans.
  • After three months Business Plans may be submitted for further funding to an expert evaluation committee.
  • Plans recommended for funding will be reviewed by the Digital City Trustee Board.
All plans submitted must have:
  • A Joint Venture (JV) company.
  • An arrangement for sharing equity between joint venture partners.
  • An end user prepared to invest funds on a pro rata basis
  • A Canberra-based company prepared to invest and be involved in development
  • A research institution(s) prepared to contribute IP or services.
  • An investor(s) or investment Fund(s).
Funds may also be granted under various Commonwealth Clean Energy or other programs.
The JV Company developing the product or system retains the IP, but some royalties may be
The outcomes of the Digital City: Canberra Innovation Future Program will be:
  • The end user (which may be a Government Department) gets a system for around 25% of normal cost
  • A JV Company gets a system or product which is available to export
  • Research institutions have the opportunity to contribute IP
  • Research institutions receive royalties as well as participate in commercialization outcomes
  • Investors participate on an equity basis
  • The community gets a system or product that improves it’s productivity
The Digital City Program will also solicit contributions from the ACT Community for local projects and provide an opportunity for community donors to invest in the Joint Venture. For example, people will be able to make a tax deductible contribution towards carbon offsets for the use of their car. ($80pa for 4 cyl, $100pa for 6 cyl and $120pa for 8 cyl cars).

Other clean energy contributor projects can be devised to engage the community.

The resultant funds would be invested in local Clean Green projects. ...

From: ACT Innovation Future Program For a Clean Green Digital City, Canberra Business Council, February 2012

1 comment:

Leigh Blackall said...

Canberra has nearly 100000 more people than Newcastle, NSW. Newcastle has a train system, and Canberra can't even muster enough support for a light rail from the south, through Northborne, out to Belconnen and Gungalin. I see the airport is building a Maglev train terminal though!