Innovation Programs

The Polaris Centre is northern industry’s gateway to transferrable real-world innovation. Through our unique strengths of combined local industry knowledge through the City of Salisbury and research expertise through the University of South Australia, we are helping to transform and advance northern industry for a sustainable growth future. Our direct partnerships and programs below offer a variety of platforms to facilitate innovation delivery to your business or industry, to develop robust global industries for the 21st century.

Northern Business Research Partnerships

Northern Business Research Partnerships (NBRP) is a seed funding program aiming to establish long-term research partnerships between the University of South Australia and organisations in the Northern Adelaide region.

The program provides small grants ($2k to $10k) for research projects developed jointly with partner organisations who match the NBRP investment. Each research project focusses on a specific research question posed by the partnering organisation which will not only deliver organisational benefit, but also economic or social benefit to Northern Adelaide.

Partnering organisations benefit from connecting with innovative, world-class research, gaining original knowledge to drive success and guide future strategy and development. Not-for-profit, government and a variety of SME’s and larger industry organisations have used the program to help advance and innovate their organisation and its outputs.

To find out more or discuss opportunities or ideas on how this program could directly help your organisation, please contact us.

Research and Innovation Clusters

UniSA clusters established around key contemporary themes and issues conduct a variety of unique multidisciplinary forums for information sharing and driving new knowledge. These include public seminars, symposia, workshops, and round-table conferences focussed on developing collaborative research projects that can help organisations and inform public policy and practice. These all include valuable networking opportunities with business leaders, practitioners, government bodies and researchers from a wide range of disciplines sharing a common interest, which can directly add value to your organisation.

UniSA currently has four Research and Innovation Clusters:

Healthy Kids Cluster
Human Rights and Security Cluster
Research in Regions Cluster
Art and Design of Health and Wellbeing Cluster
To find out more about our current Clusters or discuss opportunities or ideas, please contact us.

Innovation to Business Program

The Innovation to Business program works directly with northern industry to develop industry-wide opportunities and specialisations to deliver international growth and competitiveness and sustainable futures. This is achieved by bringing relevant industries and sectors together and applying research and knowledge to industry-identified issues and opportunities, to develop new areas of international expertise and sectoral specialisation. It ultimately aims to deliver long term prosperity and ongoing enterprise and innovation to the northern economy.

All northern industries are invited to connect with us on this significant program.

Lisa McDonald

Lisa McDonald

Unisa Venture Catalyst

Are you a recent or current UniSA student starting a business?

Do you have a great idea that could turn into the next start up?

UniSA students and recent graduates (up to 12 months) can apply for up to $50,000 to kickstart their business idea! Start your adventure now by applying for Venture Catalyst funding. You can receive up to $50,000 to help you realise your great idea.

For further information see or contact Jasmine Vreugdenburg on 8302 5477 or



Digital Growth Program

Understanding Big Data as a competitive advantage

Our increasingly intelligent and interconnected world is bringing huge changes to our lives and the way our businesses exist and operate. Through increasing business transaction processing systems, social media and online commerce to name a few areas, enormous amounts of data are now produced and collected. It has been estimated that more data was collected during 2012 than in the whole of the remaining history of our world.

What does that mean for businesses today and how can businesses innovate using the increasing amount of Big Data existing and available to organisations? Professor Andy Koronios of UniSA highlighted at a recent seminar for northern businesses how Big Data can be the most valuable asset an organisation can have, and that it can be transformative for those organisations that understand how to use it well.

Specifically, Big Data can provide higher volumes of accurate data to assist in better, more sophisticated decision making and assist with forecasting and prediction. It can also lead to narrower segmentation and help to provide customers with more precisely tailored products and services. It can also create new business models for creating value through new products and services.

So some practical advice when it comes to approaching Big Data:

  • Don’t let the ‘Big’ scare you.
  • Identify where your organisation is in terms of the data it collects and uses.
  • Ensure that your data is well managed and accurately captured.
  • Sharpen your organisation’s business analytics skills.
  • Focus on the biggest value opportunity where Big Data might deliver benefit.
  • Take small steps in working with Big Data.
  • Leverage free or nearly free tools to help you manage and work with Big Data. There are many tools available on the internet that can be leveraged to help organisations such as web analytics.

With these thoughts in mind it might be the right time to seize the opportunity to stop your organisation from drowning in data and to instead develop useful management information. Harnessing Big Data might just be your organisation’s first steps to innovation.

For further information and further detail from the Big Data seminar, please contact Lisa McDonald.

New partnerships to lead innovation and enterprise growth

As the manufacturing sector in South Australian continues to face challenges, there is now a compelling need to find transformative ways to transition the economic base of our state and northern Adelaide.

Two new partnerships of the University of South Australia aim to help drive innovation through the development of three new Centres. These new Centres will benefit SME’s, industry and students, and will play a key role in building future capacity.

The first partnership, underpinned by a $5million co-contribution from Hills Limited and the State Government, and in partnership with Flinders University will see the development of two new Centres – the Lance Hill Design Centre (named after the inventor of the Hills hoist) and the Digital Research and Commercialisation Centre. These aim to put South Australia at the forefront of innovative product design and technology expertise for a wide range of industries, from aged care and health to security and safety. They will be a showcase for smart collaboration in the State, engaging students, independent designers and innovators, researchers and businesses to collaborate on projects, incubate new ideas and products and commercialise new designs.

The second partnership between UniSA and Hewlett Packard will see a new HP Innovation and Collaboration Centre developed, with HP significantly expanding its South Australian workforce by 400. The State Government will also commit $150,000 a year for a student entrepreneur initiative that will support innovative students to pursue commercialisation of new ideas in the ICT sector in partnership with HP and other companies.

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd says the new partnerships will help to build a vibrant environment of enterprise and engagement which presents tangible opportunities for South Australians to lead innovation and economic growth.


If you are interested in discussing or learning more about how your organisation can connect with UniSA, contact Lisa McDonald or 8343 8732 at the Polaris Centre.