About Us

National Context

China

Since its inception by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 1988, the ‘China Torch Program’ has created over 160 high tech zones across China and more importantly become the engine room of innovation, urbanisation and economic growth.

The statistics are staggering: the Torch Program is responsible for over 11% of China’s entire GDP, more than 10% of the country’s total industrial value and close to 16% of China’s total foreign exports. Importantly, Torch Parks have become engines of economic growth driving jobs and wealth creation in their local communities – Torch Parks typically account for a third of the total industrial value of their host cities and often more than 20% of the local GDP.

The most recent statistics show the national-level Torch Parks are home to 51,764 tenant companies, of which almost 8,000 have annual revenues of more than RMB 100 million. Torch tenants invest RMB 537 billion in research and development forming a crucial part of China’s innovation system. The Torch Program has seeded many of the names that households all around the world today associate with Chinese innovation, entrepreneurship and quality such as Alibaba, Baidu, Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei, Hisense and Haier.

Australia

China is now Australia’s largest two way trading partner, valued at A$160 billion. In 2015 the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement was ratified, setting the scene for stronger growth between our highly complementary economies, with each government actively seeking collaborative economic initiatives to boost our respective competitiveness globally.

The Australian Government’s release of the National Innovation & Science Agenda has focused attention on the key role that innovation and research play in improving economic and social outcomes and in transforming Australia. University research lies at the heart of this transformation.

While additional strategic investment in research is a necessary condition for innovation, it is far from sufficient. To achieve even greater returns, Australia needs to stimulate entrepreneurialism and intensify knowledge exchange between universities and industry. The Sino-Australian Torch Science & Technology Park at UNSW offers a remarkable opportunity to bring together the economic and innovation agenda and bring about a ‘new normal’ in bilateral relations resetting our dependence on commodities and focusing on long-term knowledge partnerships.

The Vision

UNSW is championing a major step forward in Sino-Australian relations by launching an ambitious, government-backed initiative bringing the successful Chinese innovation ecosystem – the ‘Torch’ model of Science & Technology Parks to Australia.

The Torch Innovation Precinct at UNSW will be a premier destination for entrepreneurship – showcasing Chinese and Australian collaboration –  located at Australia’s Global University. 

This vision was endorsed by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at a special signing ceremony between UNSW and the Ministry of Science & Technology at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 14 April 2016.

Flagship Phase One Contracts: 2016-2020

Contract research

  • Hydrogen energy storage technology
  • Climate resistant power cable technology
  • Wastewater treatment and resource recovery

Prototype incubator launched

  • Advanced R&D and prototype manufacturing using graphene as an input in power cables
  • New consortium of solar companies to invest in UNSW's Solar Industrial Research Facility

Phase Two: Ten Year Blueprint for Innovation

  • By 2022, we will have created a new state-of-the-art 35,000 sqm innovation precinct.
  • An Australian R&D base for 5-10 major Chinese companies.
  • Technology Business Incubator to support up to 100 Chinese and Australian SMEs

Student Start-ups

New Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centre was established at TusStar Shanghai to incubate technology and support staff / student start-ups

UNSW: our 2025 strategy

In October 2015, UNSW published its new strategy committing to work with government, industry and the community in the translation of research activities into economic and social prosperity. 

Through knowledge exchange, we are committed to:

  • Building UNSW as a world-leading university for industry engagement
  • Creating an effective industry-staff-student ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Forging global alliances to ensure knowledge exchange contributes across the world

As a ground-breaking and internationally connected innovation precinct, Torch Innovation Precinct at UNSW will bring together industry, SMEs, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers from around the world to our campus.

Read more about our 2025 strategy

Torch Program achievements
Close to
16
%
of China’s total foreign exports
More than
10
%
of China’s total industrial value
Over
11
%
of China’s entire GDP
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