Featured News JCU’s Ideas Lab – officially open for business

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Wed, 16 Dec 2020

JCU’s Ideas Lab – officially open for business

Professor Chris Cocklin, Professor Sandra Harding, Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch and State Member for Barron River Craig Crawford unveiling the plaque for the new building
Professor Chris Cocklin, Professor Sandra Harding, Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch and State Member for Barron River Craig Crawford

Far North Queensland’s new home of innovation is now officially open for business at James Cook University’s Nguma-bada campus in Cairns.

The $30 million JCU Ideas Lab was funded by the Australian Government, the Queensland Government and James Cook University.

Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding says the official opening acknowledges all those who have contributed to the ground-breaking project.

“Today we thank those who have made possible this building and the work that happens in it: the Australian Government and our State Government, who each contributed $10 million to create this important asset for Far North Queensland and indeed northern Australia,” Professor Harding said.

“Today we also celebrate the achievements of those who created the building – the architects, builders, landscapers, other trades and specialists and of course JCU staff who have worked so hard to make this a special building.

“In a year that has challenged us all at every corner, they have created a building that doesn’t just meet the needs of those who use it, it also inspires them in their work,” she said.

“The result is a facility we can all be proud of – a cutting-edge building in terms of technology, a creative building for creative people, and one that takes sustainable design to a new level.”

The Ideas Lab brings together JCU staff and students in Internet of Things Engineering and data science, alongside local innovators – individuals and groups for whom ideas mean business.

“The space is designed to encourage collisions of ideas,” Innovation Facilitator Keith Sue said.

“It’s an incubator program that brings together staff, students and industry, in an environment where ideas can be discussed, concepts developed, and prototypes built and tested.

“We currently have eight tech-focussed enterprises in residence and working with us. We’re continuing to recruit local innovators who will benefit from workshops, mentorship, coaching and commercialisation advice as they scale up their work.”

The Ideas Lab was designed by Wilson Architects in conjunction with local firm Clarke and Prince. It was completed by Watpac Construction and local sub-contractors in July 2020, on time and within budget. Students, staff and start-ups began occupying the Lab in August.

The building has been designed to meet the standard of LEED Gold, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an international green building certification program.


Media enquiries: linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au