UTS Rapido : University-Industry Led Innovation

Lauren Kania
Lauren Kania - Junior Editor
Highlights
  • UTS Rapido, located within the University of Technology Sydney, is an impact-focused R&D innovation hub committed to creating a positive impact and solving real-world challenges.
  • “By collaborating with research teams, government entities, and clients from diverse sectors, we leverage our R&D expertise in software, mechatronics, and UX digital solutions,” says Hervé Harvard, Founder and Executive Director, UTS Rapido.

The executive team at UTS Rapido takes us on a deep dive into the R&D engineering and technology innovation hub at the University of Technology Sydney and how it is making waves by delivering solutions that create industrial and societal impacts.

UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY LED INNOVATION

Founded in 2016 by Executive Director, Hervé Harvard, who sought to bridge the gap between academia and industry, UTS Rapido is an impact-focused R&D innovation hub embedded within the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) that is committed to creating a positive impact and solving real-world challenges. 

“By collaborating with research teams, government entities, and clients from diverse sectors, we leverage our R&D expertise in software, mechatronics, and user experience (UX) digital solutions to innovate new products and services that address specific needs and deliver tangible benefits,” introduces Harvard. 

With a workforce of high-level problem-solvers who boast decades of commercial technology development experience, Harvard leads his team of professional engineers and R&D experts, in collaboration with UTS, to deliver projects for industry and social impact partners. 

As an accomplished technology leader and intrapreneur with over 25 years experience in innovation, Harvard is a strong advocate for industry-university collaboration and has a rich background in leading teams in the digital innovation space for large multinationals, including Canon, Siemens, and Philips. 

With this vast experience, alongside the dedicated passion of the UTS Rapido team, the R&D unit utilises customer-centric professionalism and strategic engagement to enable entry into a comprehensive university-wide engineering and IT innovation ecosystem. 

The organisation’s unique approach blends commercial R&D experience, academic expertise, and access to state-of-the-art facilities to reliably test, innovate, and commercialise new products and services. 

The UTS Rapido team works closely with clients, taking industry ideas and concepts from the initial research stage to market-ready solutions. 

“We provide a multidisciplinary innovation hub with professional R&D engagement and project management, offering the possibility of a fully outsourced R&D workforce,” expands Harvard. 

This gateway to a university-wide ecosystem allows clients to take advantage of both the experienced and professional team at UTS Rapido, alongside UTS, a leading technology institute rated among the top 100 universities worldwide and the number one ‘young’ university in Australia. 

Hervé Harvard, Founder and Executive Director, UTS Rapido

“By collaborating with research teams, government entities, and clients from diverse sectors, we leverage our R&D expertise in software, mechatronics, and UX digital solutions to innovate new products and services that address specific needs and deliver tangible benefits”

Hervé Harvard, Founder and Executive Director, UTS Rapido

INNOVATION AT ITS FINEST

The mission to bridge the gap between industry and academia has been embedded into the core of UTS Rapido since its inception. 

One of the primary ways in which the R&D unit is able to accomplish this goal is due to its location in the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the UTS campus. 

“Our professional engineers, R&D experts, and skilled project managers collaborate with UTS’ researchers, facilities, and labs to deliver projects for our industry and social impact partners,” details Harvard. 

“Bridging the gap between academia and industry increases the possibilities for external partners to leverage the technical excellence available through UTS.” 

Industry partners can gain access to diverse capabilities, funding grants, and collaborative opportunities with a leading university, alongside the chance to harness a commercially focused R&D team. 

UTS Rapido offers a variety of services to its clients, with three primary capabilities consisting of software, mechatronics, and UX and digital solutions. 

The UX team consists of strategic engineers who spearhead the creation of invaluable methods for developing real-world, user-centric solutions. 

“Our market-driven strategy delivers digital solutions that maximise productivity and engagement. By utilising collaborative design and validation methods, we gain a deep understanding of the needs of our partners’ businesses, segments, workforce, and end users within their specific contexts and environments.” explains Julie Kowald, Principal Delivery Manager UX and Digital Solutions, UTS Rapido. 

The engineering team that heads UTS Rapido’s mechatronics service provides expertise in a range of engineering disciplines, including mechanical, electronics, embedded software, and control systems. 

“We create innovative and effective solutions for routine and novel mechatronic challenges,” Harvard explains further. 

UT Rapido’s software engineering team applies analytical thinking, engineering principles, methods, tools, and techniques to the design, development, and maintenance of advanced, cost-effective software solutions. It works hard to ensure that large, complex, and critical software systems are interwoven into daily life and accurately fit the intended purpose. 

“Our team members specialise in developing not only industry-ready mobile, web, and cloud solutions, but also more advanced computing technologies such as gaming, data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), 3D geometry processing, and computer vision,” asserts Raj Calisa, Principal Delivery Manager Software at UTS Rapido. 

DELIVERING INDUSTRY AND SOCIAL IMPACT

In order to develop cutting-edge products and services, UTS Rapido supports start-ups, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and corporations by providing R&D engineering and technology solutions. 

“When we partner with industry, our projects can range from end-to-end solutions to smaller projects that fill an expertise gap. We collaborate and apply research findings to our services within world-class facilities to support organisations of all sizes,” details Harvard.   

The team’s expertise spans a wide range of industries, including agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, defence, manufacturing, mining, retail, technology, transportation, and education, allowing it to work with individuals who possess brilliant ideas, community groups seeking solutions, and various other organisations aiming to drive innovation. 

UTS Rapido provides additional support by helping not-for-profit partners. Since 2017, the innovation hub has donated significant time and resources to purposeful organisations in order to create positive change. 

“The for-purpose sector, which is often limited by budgets and a lack of skilled technical talent, faces challenges in embracing technological innovation,” insights Harvard. 

“By leveraging our R&D engineering expertise, academic knowledge, and advanced facilities, we pursue impactful collaborations on projects aimed at developing technology-driven solutions for societal challenges.” 

The university-based initiative is passionate about giving back and providing affordable technology solutions for organisations that prioritise making a difference.  

Specifically, it helps for-purpose organisations with limited access to technological innovation to overcome budget constraints or expertise gaps, utilise engineering and technology-based solutions, and leverage cutting-edge technologies. 

Additionally, UTS Rapido assists partners in accessing grant funding opportunities to further their research and projects. 

“We understand the financial challenges associated with innovation projects. That’s why we have helped our partners access Australian government grants, through which 80 percent of our innovation projects were part-funded in 2022,” prides Harvard. 

With a deep understanding of the social impact space, UTS Rapido is committed to driving positive change in the world beyond its campus as it continues to look towards the future.

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By Lauren Kania Junior Editor
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Lauren Kania is an in-house writer for APAC Outlook Magazine, where she is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.