Mawson Institute machineryIn an Australian first, the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) have united to take a standardised approach to Intellectual Property (IP).

The ATN IP principles will be launched today at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and will feature a keynote address from the Minister for Education and Training, Senator The Hon. Simon Birmingham. Guests will also hear from leading disability provider Northcott Innovation who have collaborated with UTS to bring their innovative Step Climber wheelchair to market.

The ATN is leading the charge to improve university-industry collaboration, tackling head-on Australia’s current poor ranking of just 29th out of 30 in the OECD.

“Having highlighted this problem in the ATN/AiG Innovate and Prosper 2015 report, we are now making it easier for industry to work with our researchers and staff,” says ATN Executive Director, Ms Renee Hindmarsh.

The ATN’s national approach actively promotes greater commercialisation of university research and will enable greater collaboration between industry partners and researchers from our five members: QUT, University of Technology Sydney, RMIT University, University of South Australia and Curtin University.

ATN Chair and UniSA Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor David Lloyd says, “For any university that's serious about industry engagement, having clear and transparent principles around intellectual property is a must. To have five of the world's leading young universities on the same page and with the same shared goals and objectives in this domain is a huge step - a first for Australia and a real signal of how the ATN is ready to partner with industry and end users in research.”

Industry can be confident that when dealing with any of our five leading, technology focussed, universities across Australia, the approach to IP will be consistent. 

“Our approach is pragmatic and flexible. It will make it simpler, both for industry to approach ATN universities to solve their problems with new research, and for innovations generated by research across our universities to be commercialised by industry. And, most importantly, with our shared IP Principles, we are committing to working in an agile and efficient way that respects the often tight timeframes and unique requirements of individual businesses.

“It is pleasing to see that improving university-industry collaboration was a major focus in the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, and that the ATN are seen as the exemplar when it comes to building a truly innovative ecosystem.

“Our universities are among the best in the world, focused on driving outcomes through industry collaboration, and committed to deliver practical results through real-world research with real-world impact.

“We have always been committed to improving university-industry collaboration and the launch of our national IP Principles is just one example that further cements our reputation as industry’s partner of choice,” says Ms Hindmarsh.


The ATN universities’ approach to managing intellectual property is based on the following principles:

  1. We actively encourage students and staff to undertake research that is relevant to challenges faced by society and in partnership with industry, government and community groups.
  1. As guided by our industry partners, we encourage them to own and take the lead in commercialisation of intellectual property generated from industry funded research when they are best placed to do so.
  1.  Where access to university owned or jointly owned IP is necessary or beneficial for commercialisation we support access to the IP based on fair and equitable terms, in a timely manner.
  1. Our interactions with industry will be governed by a transparent, flexible and user-friendly system that supports and encourages engagement using a range of IP models.
  1. Each university will make public our Intellectual Property Policies and Standard Commercial Agreement templates, to provide a simple and transparent framework.
  1. We actively encourage and promote an entrepreneurial culture for our staff and students. This includes a system of support to facilitate the creation of new ventures where our staff and students are appropriately involved.
  1. All partnerships and resultant commercial agreements will be developed and negotiated in a prompt manner and in keeping with these core principles.

Download the IP brochure.

Visit the ATN IP website for more information.