Collaboration set to boost Australia’s respected advanced manufacturing and medtech ecosystem

15 December 2016

MTPConnect and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together in undertaking activities to accelerate the growth of advanced manufacturing in the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector in Australia.

Both MTPConnect and AMGC have been established as part of the Federal Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative – an industry-led approach with $250 million in funding over four years to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness by focusing on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority.

The two independent, not-for-profit organisations will work closely to boost the intersection of the MTP and advanced manufacturing sectors in Australia, fostering collaboration to deliver their missions of engaging and strengthening the sectors nationally.

Advanced manufacturing is the application of leading edge technical knowledge and expertise to the creation of products, production processes and associated value-adding services to sustain high growth and profitability. With deep technical expertise, innovative processes, and high market responsiveness, Australia is well positioned to compete globally in advanced manufacturing, particularly in the MTP sector.

Sue MacLeman, CEO of MTPConnect, said that the agreement will be pivotal to increasing the value of advanced manufacturing in the MTP sector, building on Australia’s reputation for high-quality manufacturing and growing demand from Asia for Australian-manufactured products, including pharmaceuticals.

“Through collaborating our efforts, the AMGC and MTPConnect have the ability to support the next generation of Australia’s evolved manufacturing economy, providing opportunity to re-skill and redeploy the existing workforce into highly-skilled jobs across the value chain.

“Local manufacturers have the opportunity to forge strong collaborative relationships with Australian-based researchers and MTP companies at early development stages, positioning Australia as a known and reputable destination for the highly specialised processes required for medical technologies and pharmaceutical products.”

Dr Jens Goennemann, Managing Director of the AMGC, points out that, “The opportunity to work closely with MTPConnect boosts our efforts to increase our global competitiveness in the medical technology sector. Our aim is to align our strengths, not duplicate resources, in order to focus on specific areas where we know our offerings set us apart from other nations. Insights from the AMGC Sector Competitiveness Plan emphasises to compete on value, not on cost. Together, with MTPConnect, we can direct and trigger investment in highly technological and value-adding solutions. This is what global customers demand and what can lift our competitiveness.”

The two industry growth centres have aligned in development of their Sector Competitiveness Plans – long-term strategies on lifting the capabilities, productivity and skills, creating jobs, reducing red-tape, and increasing engagement with international opportunities.

Together, MTPConnect and AMGC will support advanced manufacturing as a part of the broader Australian innovation ecosystem via:

  • Development of industry Knowledge Priorities, particularly technology priorities in areas of competitive advantage that relate to the MTP sector
  • Increasing management awareness of international best practices in advanced manufacturing processes to improve productivity and reduce costs
  • Encouraging greater introduction of complementary services by manufacturers and showcasing examples of firms that have successfully expanded up the value chain into services in MTP
  • Identifying opportunities for firms to collaborate on R&D pooling and shared resources
  • Working with Austrade to identify underserved markets and communicate these markets to MTP manufacturers

The $15.6 million MTPConnect Project Fund Program has already provided support for advanced manufacturing in the MTP sector, launching projects such as a national medtech accelerator leveraging existing capabilities to boost niche advanced manufacturing and medical device development, and support for a biofabrication research centre located on a hospital campus utilising 3D digital scanning, modelling and advanced manufacturing technologies.