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Education | Infrastructure

How to build a regional university

9 Apr 2018, by Informa Insights

It is hard to imagine the largely uncivilized landscape of the Amazon Rainforest being described as a hub of world-class academia, thought-leadership and ground-breaking innovation.

But thanks to a multi-billion-dollar reinvention of the Ecuadorian education system, which led to the building of Amazon-based university IKIAM, the region is fast gaining status in this realm.

Professor Graham Wise, is responsible for drafting the $200 million technical masterplan for the institution – a 256 hectare campus surrounded by 93,000 hectares of cloud forest reserve.

Renowned for his role as Chief Investigator of the 2016 Australian Government report ‘How Regional Universities Drive Regional Innovation’, and frequent public engagement, Professor Wise was commissioned by the Ecuadorian Government to advise on the project.

Since its establishment, IKIAM has become an interesting case study in regional distinctiveness. According to Wise, the alignment of the university’s organizational vision and physical campus has been the cornerstone of its success.

“Part of the mission of IKIAM is to undertake research and teaching in the areas of conservation and natural resources management. Locating the campus where it is and directing our organisational focus to these areas means that we now have resources that no other university in the world has.”

Despite being a significant distance from any major city, IKIAM has successfully forged several, major research partnerships with the likes of Stanford and Cambridge University, and has been awarded the prestigious Intercultural Innovation Award — a partnership between the United National Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group.

“The reason why IKIAM is a great case study is because its location, its campus, its division and position, and the implementation of its activity are completely focused on being regionally distinctive.”

Professor Wise will share insights from this one of a kind project at the upcoming University Masterplans Summit – to be held in Sydney on 28-29 June – focusing on the use of regional distinctiveness to drive industry engagement and international prominence.

Learn more about the Summit and register your place here.

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