JCU Ideas Lab Our Purpose

Our Purpose

Welcome to the JCU Ideas Lab, a place of creation, connection and collaboration.

JCU Ideas Lab

The JCU Ideas Lab transforms the innovation ecosystem in Far North Queensland by enabling regional digital transformation. This will translate JCU’s teaching and research expertise into innovations that generate jobs and foster economic growth for Cairns and the broader region. The ultimate aim is to create products and processes with real commercial application that can drive economic growth and diversity for northern Australia.


Our Culture

At our very core, we are innovators who are driven by the goal of making a global impact through leveraging world-leading research and state-of-the-art technologies. Within this space we nurture a culture to:

Ideas lab culture infographic.

Meet the JCU Innovation Team

Brook OrrBrook Orr, Associate Director JCU Innovation
Associate Director, Innovation

Brook has led the development of James Cook University’s Innovation Strategy, with a focus on driving innovation activity to achieve measurable impact across our region. Leading the JCU Innovation team, she has codesigned the JCU Ideas Lab programming and launch, and a diverse range of innovation initiatives including Hackathons, Design Thinking, Ideation and Innovation Leadership workshops.

With 20 years of experience in senior roles across the Higher Education and Tourism sectors, Brook considers herself a boundary spanner, seeking to connect academia, government, business and industry.

Through previous roles in Europe and North America, and her representation of JCU in international markets such as Central and South America, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Brook brings a global perspective to the Innovation team. She defines innovation as the implementation of new ideas, products, services, concepts or methods to create value.

Get in contact with Brook: brook.orr@jcu.edu.au


Dr Samantha Horseman, Innovation FacilitatorDr Samantha Horseman
JCU Innovation Facilitator

Sam is a globally recognised inventor, innovator and venture growth entrepreneur spanning a two decade career at Aramco in Saudi Arabia. She is a global thought leader as a result of her IoT human-machine interface portfolio of 60 granted patents, 15 prototypes, 22 publications, and 25 regional & global awards.

Sam led the Innovation Ecosystem Vertical for the Aramco Entrepreneurship Center, launching deep-tech incubators and accelerators, and most recently deploying the Venture Growth Portfolio for 40+ startups invested by the Wa'ed venture capital fund. She was President of the MENA Institute for Health & Productivity Management (IHPM-MENA), Founder & President of the Innovation Ecosystem Society, Member of the Advisory Board for the MoH - National Vision Realization Office, and Director for the ‘Google for Startups’ Dhahran Chapter.

Sam is passionate about integrating science, research and innovation together to develop impactful business ventures. As a futuristic thought leader, she is motivated and committed towards developing next-gen talent, innovative processes and critical systems thinking for a better future.

Get in contact with Sam: samantha.horseman@jcu.edu.au


Maren Eibner JCU Innovation Coordinator Maren Eibner
JCU Innovation Coordinator

Maren has a studied background in marketing and international business, and applies her 12 years of experience owning, operating and managing small businesses and not-for-profit organisations to her role of Innovation Coordinator at JCU.

In addition to her skillset relating to business operations and management, Maren also has a background in content writing, photography, photo editing, graphic design and web design, and oversees the internal and external communications of the JCU innovation team.

A self-declared people's person, Maren loves being the first point of contact for new enquires and is passionate about finding the right support for students, researchers, academics, entrepreneurs, inventors and startup founders of the broader community.

She believes great ideas are only as good as the relationships you build to bring them to life.

Get in contact with Maren: maren.eibner@jcu.edu.au