The Vice-Chancellor has been very supportive of the University’s commercialisation agenda and has presided over UQ during a period of massive changes and growth in this activity.

John Hay had been at UQ for barely a week when he was asked to approve a $5 million investment in UniQuest. At the time, there were no other Australian universities engaging in commercialisation ventures on this scale, so it was an enormous demonstration of trust and vision by the Vice-Chancellor.

Even though the company had been formed in 1984, it was this injection of funds in 1996 which has been the key to the company evolving into the entity it is today.

The University’s commercialisation performance, currently generating revenue in excess of $50 million a year, makes UQ a leader in Australia and among the top 10 percent of universities worldwide.

John also backed UniQuest sharing its expertise with the University of Wollongong via a collaboration, strengthening the commercialisation programs of both.

Among examples of UQ’s commercialisation successes are the cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil™, and the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P). As of August, 10 million Gardasil™ vaccinations had been administered in 80 countries while Triple P is used in 15 countries and has been translated into 14 languages.

UniQuest staff numbers have quadrupled from 20 in 1996 to 80 and the service offered to researchers is far more extensive than it was 12 years ago.

Most of UQ’s 50 or so start-up companies have been established during John’s term. I would also like to commend him for his backing of Uniseed which has become a model for university companies managing early stage investment funds.

Uniseed began as a joint venture between UQ and the University of Melbourne in 2000 and now includes the University of New South Wales. At formation, Uniseed was the first specialist pre-seed commercialisation fund for university technology in Australia. The company recently attracted Western Australia’s largest private sector superannuation fund, Westscheme, as an investor in a $15 million partnership.

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