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Innovation Futures

Western Sydney University has a bold vision to support our region to become a key innovation destination. The Innovation Futures initiative will bolster Western’s distinctive brand as innovative, future focussed and globally oriented institution renowned for the infusion on entrepreneurship throughout the University’s teaching and research programs, and commitment to our region.

What is Innovation Futures?

Innovation Futures comprises an integrated suite of programs supporting the development of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at Western. The programs’ focus on student entrepreneurship, enhanced commercialisation of Research and Development and the expansion of industry partnerships in sectors critical to the Western Sydney economy makes them highly complementary and leverages a range of related initiatives led by the University’s Enterprise portfolio.

Venture Makers

Venture Makers aims to engage students from across Western and our offshore partners with industry-applied innovation including entrepreneurship, Industry 4.0 training and support. This stream of activities will be available to all WSU students with a particular focus on optimising engineering and innovation activation of our campus precincts. Highly immersive and industry-applied experiences will be provided to support skill development and future employment prospects for local students and partners in international markets.

Western Ventures

Western Ventures will establish the critical infrastructure to support early-stage translation and commercialisation of Western’s research. This initiative will include mentoring and advisory support structures and an investment advisory panel to manage an Early-Stage Innovation Fund facility to support identification, translation and commercialisation of high potential research and development across the University.

Industry Innovation Leads

Innovation Futures will invest in eight Industry Innovation Leads (IIL) to drive external connections, research translation and commercialisation targeted to strategic industry sectors and aligned to University’s teaching and research strengths including areas such as MedTech, Advanced Manufacturing and AgriTech.

Western Sydney University ranks #1 in the world for commitment to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Western Sydney University Transformation Program aligns with, and specifically addresses, four main SDGs: Quality Education; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; and Partnerships for the Goals.

  • Venture Makers incorporates women’s entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship training and is inclusive of cultural and linguistically diverse cohorts;
  • Venture Makers is underpinned by Sustainable Development Goals to guide the process of entrepreneurial thinking and activity towards sustainable development and impact, drawing on research and partnering with strategically selected organisations;
  • Aims to deliver 12-16 early stage investments that progress research translation and impact of projects with a target of three of these projects attracting external investment or commercialisation partnership;
  • Projects will be deliberately selected and designed to support technological innovation and industry and economic development;
  • Industry Innovation Leads will create and lead partnerships in key sectors for research collaboration, training partnerships, commercialisation, licensing deals, and student work integrated learning programs;
  • Venture Makers will support job creation through formal and informal learning experiences that drives the creation of an entrepreneurial culture and talent base for the development of the entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem;
  • Industry Innovation Leads will create and lead partnerships in key sectors for research collaboration, training partnerships, commercialisation, research and development (R&D) collaboration and the fostering of private investment in R&D;
  • Providing training to 50 researchers annually in R&D translation and commercialisation and investing in high calibre technologies for future industrial applications via Western Ventures;
  • Refining business processes to manage the University’s capability to interface with industry, leverage Industry Innovation Leads, and leverage system technologies; and
  • Venture Makers is establishing an international network of collaborating institutions to support knowledge sharing, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Ensure Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promote Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All

Promote Sustained, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work for All

Build Resilient Infrastructure, Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Foster Innovation

Strengthen the Means of Implementation and Revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

Who We Are

Executive Sponsor
Professor Deborah Sweeney
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research, Enterprise and International

Venture Makers Lead
Don Wright
Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Western Ventures Lead
Tim Horan
Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Project Support
Brooke Jim
Senior Project Coordinator

How can I learn more?

Innovation Futures is running a range of information sessions and public events. Please subscribe to the following newsletters for regular updates.


• Research Services | Email

If you would like to know more or are interested in getting involved, please reach out to us at

Frequently Asked Questions

Venture makers will provide student exposure to industry, development of entrepreneurial skills to launch their own start-up and real-life work experience in the sector. Students will also be able to act as an intrapreneur within established organisations, connecting them to the global entrepreneurship community whilst improving student success and employability.

Western Ventures will raise awareness of commercialisation opportunities at Western, develop capacity in our researchers and students, promote translation and impact of our research, support researcher retention and attraction and increase industry R&D partnerships and income.

Innovation Futures will drive external connections, translation and commercialisation to position the University as an Innovation destination.

The timeline for the Innovation Futures can be viewed on the Transformation Program website.

The Board of Trustees have approved this project as part of the Transformation Program for 5 years. They have approved funding for 3 years, with extension to follow a review of initial progress and achievements.

Staff and students will have opportunities to provide input and collaborate on different activities within these streams. Consultation is occurring via the Clusters, Schools and Institutes and various committees or other forums as specific aspects of the program develop. Questions and feedback are also welcome at any time – please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team.

If you are unsure who to contact or would like broader information or assistance, get in touch with the Transformation Program Team via our Feedback Form or email at

Several project-related roles will be advertised during the course of this program. Please keep checking the Jobs webpage for vacancies.