ERIC Number: EJ996438
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr-15
An Australian "Smart State" Serves Up Lessons for a Knowledge Economy
Wheeler, David L.
Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr 2012
Fifteen years ago, the Australian state of Queensland was famous more for its beaches than for its brain power. Fellow Australians thought of Queenslanders as miners, farmers, or surfers, not as professors or scientists. When Queensland announced in 1998 that it was planning to become a "Smart State," or a knowledge economy, locals quipped that the government had used the word "smart" only because Queenslanders could not spell "intelligent." But since then, the number of scientists in Queensland has more than doubled, to 18,100. Spending on research and development has also increased twofold, to more than $4-billion. The state's universities are studded with 36 new research institutes that are hiring talent and turning basic science into products, patents, and drugs. And a $354-million Translational Research Institute, to be finished in September, will have two university partners and the ability to manufacture drugs, a capacity that had previously been missing in Australia, forcing clinical trials overseas. Along the path of the 14-year drive to become a Smart State, Queensland's university officials, scientists, and nascent philanthropists have learned some lessons that might benefit other governments interested in nurturing knowledge economies. Indeed, Charles (Chuck) Feeney, the philanthropist who has masterminded some of the multilayered deals at the center of the Smart State effort, recently made a record $350-million donation to Cornell University's effort to build a science-and-technology-focused graduate school on Roosevelt Island. South Carolina has a similar effort to create a Smart State and has paired up with the Australians. Australia has its own special challenges, though, given its distance from other research and manufacturing. Queensland's universities will also have to scramble for money to operate their buildings and pay for scientists' salaries under a new state government whose loyalty to the Smart State has yet to be tested.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Scientists, Research and Development, Educational Change, Government School Relationship, School Business Relationship, Philanthropic Foundations, Fund Raising, Drug Therapy, Manufacturing, Knowledge Economy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia