Hills and State Government team up for inventions of the future

14/02/2014

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The South Australian company behind one of the nation's most famous inventions, the Hills Hoist, is to establish two new technology development centres in Adelaide - where the inventions of tomorrow will be born.

The State Government and Hills Ltd are jointly funding the $5 million Centres of Excellence for advanced technology development.

Premier Jay Weatherill today announced that Hills Ltd had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of South Australia and Flinders University to collaborate on projects at the two new centres.

The Lance Hill Design Centre - named after the inventor of the Hills Hoist - and the Digital Research and Commercialisation Centre will focus on design and commercialisation of hightech products.

Hills estimates the two centres could create up to 50 highly-skilled local jobs.

"It is most apt that this initiative is being driven by a proudly South Australian company that brought us one of Australia's most famous products," Mr Weatherill said.

"It is also a great example of a long-established manufacturing business making a transition into higher value manufacturing.

"These centres will drive innovation in the fields of medical devices, healthcare and assisted living.

"The collaboration also will create stronger links between industry and the research sector."

Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Minister Tom Kenyon said Hills Limited was renowned for its strong commitment to innovation and was now investing a significant amount of its own money in diversifying its interests into advanced products with a growing market.

"The State Government has been working closely with Hills to identify key areas to boost the company's global competitiveness.

"These centres present Hills with an exciting new opportunity for business renewal and growth and I commend them for their work in diversifying their business model.

"This is another example of how our manufacturing sector is going to transform and we are very supportive of industry in initiatives like this," Mr Kenyon said.

Group Managing Director and CEO of Hills Limited, Ted Pretty, said the company's collaboration with the State Government and the two universities was a positive step towards supporting new and innovative opportunities in our state.

"Hills is pleased to contribute funding as the private sector must play a role in generating economic prosperity," Mr Pretty said.

"We are optimistic that creating the two centres in Adelaide will act as a catalyst for new products and businesses to be incubated from within the State.

"We must act decisively and quickly to reposition the economy to be able to compete in the global market place. All of these initiatives should receive wide bi-partisan support.

"The new jobs created by this initiative could be across a number of disciplines, including product and service design, advanced fabrication and user experience, as well as engineering and communications.

"Both new centres will be located in Adelaide at sites to be determined after further evaluation and discussion with the universities," Mr Pretty said.