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Louise Bennet
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The University of Melbourne has announced its founding partnership of the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community of Australia (Climate-KIC Australia), a public-private innovation partnership designed to facilitate economic solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation.

The partnership is based on the successful European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) model established six years ago by the EU and provides a new way to link businesses, entrepreneurs, research, investors, and government to harness opportunities and address challenges of climate change.

Former CEO and International Ambassador of Climate-KIC Europe and Acting Chair of Climate-KIC Australia, Mary Ritter, said the partnership was unique in its capacity to seed new ideas and bring large research organisations including Universities and industry together to realise innovations.

"Climate innovation can provide the foundation for the future prosperity of Australia, and the scale of opportunity is vast: New Climate Economy estimates that around US$90 trillion of investment in global infrastructure is required to achieve a broad-based, low-carbon economy by 2030."

EU Ambassador to Australia H.E. Sem Fabrizi, congratulated the team that have developed the Australia KIC initiative saying people, business, researchers, innovators and public authorities from all over Australia and the region could benefit from the initiative.

"I am very proud that the KIC initiative has been modelled on the outstanding work of the EU's KIC network. Innovation is a powerful tool to support climate adaptation and mitigation. The Australian KIC community now has this ground-breaking initiative to focus its work and activities, contributing to implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement."

CEO of Climate-KIC Australia, Christopher Lee, said Climate-KIC Australia allows parties to come together in a pre-competitive space to co-create innovative solutions.

"Similar to its European counterpart, Climate-KIC Australia will form a key part of a structured, cohesive and effective response to climate change in Australia - bringing together the best to enable climate innovation to form the foundation of the future Australian economy."

Set-up as a not-for-profit organisation, Climate-KIC Australia will commence its operations in 2017 in all major Australian cities, including the piloting of cleantech accelerator activities in NSW which will roll-out nationally in 2018. The Climate LaunchPad tech competition will open in April 2017 - winning teams from Australia will participate in the Global finals in Europe in October 2017. Climate-KIC Australia will also launch climate-related education programmes in July 2017.

Europe’s largest summer school for climate innovation and entrepreneurship is also open for applications.  Run by Climate KIC Europe, the Journey summer school offers a unique combination of climate knowledge and hands-on business experience.  The European Union Centre on Shared Complex Challenges at the University of Melbourne, in collaboration with the Victorian Government, is now calling for applications from Victorian postgraduate students.

The Victorian launch of Climate-KIC Australia took place last night, hosted by the University of Melbourne together with the Victorian Government who is also a founding partner.