The Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) has outlined the details of a partnership with The University of Newcastle that paves the way for a sustainable model to ensure economic and social research for the region.
HRF Chair, Dr Eileen Doyle, announced at the Foundation’s Economic Update Breakfast (on Friday, 11 March 2016) that a new Hunter Research Foundation Centre would be created in 2017.
“As Hunter Research Foundation celebrates its 60th year, the organisation has entered an exciting partnership with The University of Newcastle that will secure the long-term role of collecting and analysing the region’s economic and social data,” Eileen said.
“The collaborative Hunter Research Foundation Centre will preserve the 60 year legacy of the Foundation and will secure future regional research for many years to come.”
“It makes good sense for the Foundation to work within the framework of our own University. For an organisation to be sustainable it must innovate and look to new models that ensure it will remain relevant. As a world-class centre of education research and academia, The University is well placed to be able to provide this to the Hunter Research Foundation Centre and all those who connect with it,” Eileen concluded.
The Foundation will continue to provide its key functions which include the highly successful Hunter Economic Breakfast Series and work that is done in partnership with its many sponsors and supporters.
A Hunter Research Foundation Centre Professorial Chair’s position will be created to lead research programs focussed on supporting economic and social development within the Hunter region and similar regions into the future.
University Chancellor, Paul Jeans, said the new centre would combine the strengths of both organisations.
“Hunter Research Foundation has served our region with distinction. By embracing the Foundation as part of the University family, we will ensure that its significant historical data bases are preserved and its research is maintained and expanded through the Hunter Research Foundation Centre,” Paul said.
“The University has collaborated for many years with the Foundation, and that mutually beneficial engagement has led us to today, with our two organisations sharing a determination to shape a future for the Hunter that realises our region’s many opportunities and assets.”
The partnership between Hunter Research Foundation and the University will begin immediately with a transition to the Centre in 2017.
As part of the regular Economic Update Breakfast schedule, the Hunter Research Foundation’s latest Hunter Economic Indicators were released (a snapshot can be viewed here).
Business and consumer confidence in the economy, both in the short and long-term, rose in the December 2015 quarter, providing some bright spots in the Hunter’s economic outlook, according to HRF CEO Dr Brent Jenkins.
“Businesses need to invest to improve our medium to long-term economic outlook and the latest data from HRF’s quarterly HUNTERPulse survey indicate greater willingness by Hunter firms to invest,” Brent said.
“However, Hunter businesses are starting from a low base. Although the share of businesses citing lack of sales as a major impediment has moderated since June 2015, it remains above pre-GFC levels.”
There are also positive trends in the Hunter’s labour market, with growing employment and falls in the unemployment rate. With three consecutive increases in full-time employment, both nationally and locally, there is evidence that recent trends may not be temporary.
The breakfast also featured CSIRO energy economist Paul Graham, and Manager of the Tom Farrell Institute’s Future Industries Program Dr Gary Ellem speaking on future energy trends and opportunities.