In "Angus Taylor says UTas Launceston can learn from Cambridge" (Julie Hare, The Australian, February 8, 2017), the Assistant Cities Minister, is quoted as saying Cambridge (England) is a good model for turning Launceston (Tasmania). However, I suggest this would take decades, not years.
In 1998 as my closing address to an Information Industry Outlook Conference in Canberra, I proposed Cambridge was a good model for Australian cities (Silicon Fen, not Silicon Valley). For this I drew on my direct experience of visiting Cambridge and speaking to university people, research lab staff and startups. Also I cited the 1985 report Cambridge phenomenon by Segal Quince & Partners (which I wrote a summary of). Since then I have been back to Cambridge twice for conferences and to give talks to the university staff.
Canberra now has the elements of the Cambridge phenomenon happening around the Canberra Innovation Network office, on the edge of the CBD adjacent to the Australian National University campus (and a short walk from my ANU office). However, this has taken much work over many years. The most important element is not government schemes, or formal institutions, but people from academia, business and government getting to know each other, to the point where they are ready to invest.
For those interested, I have written some notes on innovation, Cambridge and Canberra.
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