Uni’s enterprising idea

IN THE mind of university provost Ken Stott, it’s not a name that grabs your attention.

But the concept behind CEDE – Centre for Economic Development and Enterprise – has the potential to get its claws into a plethora of economic benefits.

The USQ Fraser Coast campus is set to play an integral role as the Fraser Coast council rolls out its ambitious economic development strategy.

Professor Stott envisages the establishment of an economic development hub at the Pialba campus, with a professorial chair to be the first and most important instalment.

“We want to bring intellectual expertise here to work with other key agencies to provide the conditions in which jobs can be created,” Mr Stott said.

“We will be looking for someone with a profound knowledge of economic development especially in a regional community, but also someone who is sensitive to the perspective of the key agencies operating in the region.”

The $140,000-a-year plan has been given the go-ahead by USQ vice chancellor Professor Bill Lovegrove who committed $90,000 to the project if the community was willing to pick up the slack.

The Fraser Coast council stepped in with $50,000 and now the Maryborough Chamber of Commerce has set aside $10,000 over three years for CEDE.

“At a time of great difficulty it was great that the council gave this their blessing.

“Maryborough Chamber of Commerce can see the value of this. It’s a very far-sighted move by them.”

The main work at the centre will involve interaction with other agencies in the region and Mr Stott is also very hopeful of attracting PhD students to focus their doctoral studies on issues of concern to the Fraser Coast.

For now, the professorial chair is the priority with a mid-2010 timeline important.

“The university can’t just wait and provide. We have to get involved with the community at an intimate level. My vision is for a centre to be established here, making a contribution to the region, bringing investment into the region.

“It will involve visionary and innovative thinking that can open people’s eyes to the possibilities. “If we don’t think about how we develop our community, it will inevitably decay, allowing crime and violence to grow.

“It will be a very high calibre candidate but it could also be someone who is young and ambitious and who really wants to make a mark. Someone with a great enthusiasm for economic development.”

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