The Coachlear Effect
By Peter Roberts, AFR BOSS
14 November 2012
We are standing atop the roof of the new global headquarters of high-technology medical implant company Cochlear, and its chief executive Chris Roberts is becoming more than a little animated.
The $128 million office and production facility sprawls over six levels in the grounds of Macquarie University in the north-west of Sydney. The complex lives and breathes that old adage that you get the best outcomes when you cluster manufacturing alongside research and development. Cochlear’s new home on campus is a hot spot for innovation.
Roberts gestures to a new building nearing completion across the street – that’s the National Acoustic Laboratories and the Shepherd Centre for hearing. Behind that are ranged the many faculties of Macquarie University and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition. And over the way, across the treetops, is the advanced medical teaching hospital.
In a nation with no Silicon Valley, the bionic ear maker, Macquarie Uni and the federal government have united the clinicians and commerce in a bold experiment aimed at creating a national hearing hub.
“We will have something like 2500 people co-located in these several buildings working on all aspects of hearing from basic research to clinical services,” says Roberts, 58, a chemical engineer who gained his own MBA at Macquarie.
Read more by Peter Roberts for AFR BOSS here.