Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade Richard Dalla-Riva will speak at the debut Innovation Series lunch in Melbourne on 12 May, alongside leaders from RMIT and ANCA.

The Innovation Series showcases breakthrough science and technology and has proven to be a great success in Brisbane and Sydney - attracting more than 1,000 attendees last year.

Managed by Zernike Australia in partnership with the Australian Institute for Commercialisation (AIC), the networking forum mainly attracts senior business people, as well as those involved in research, technology and professional services. The impressive panel at the first Melbourne event will tackle the topic of ‘Building Global Competitiveness through Innovative Manufacturing’.

Professor Aleksandar Subic is the Head of School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at RMIT University in Melbourne, Director of the Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (SAE-A) and Education Director of Corporate Research Centre for Advanced Automotive Technologies (AutoCRC).

Pat Boland is a founder and joint Managing Director of ANCA - a designer, manufacturer and supplier of world leading machine tool technology to Boeing, General Electric and Rolls Royce with facilities in Australia, Taiwan and Thailand.

Mr Boland has several important patents and has received many industry awards including 1993 Rolls-Royce/Qantas award for Engineering Excellence and “engineering hero” status by the Victorian Government.

As well as holding the Ministerial Portfolio for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade, Richard Dalla-Riva has worked in senior management in the manufacturing sector.

The first Melbourne event will be looking to replicate the success the Innovation Series has enjoyed in Brisbane and Sydney, where more than a third of attendees reported making contacts which led to business outcomes.

Respondents to a 2010 survey named ‘new research projects, clients, partnership opportunities, angel investors, and $40,000 worth of new business’ as direct results of attending the events.

Gill-Laird Portch from Zernike Australia said these outcomes have helped spread the word about the Innovation Series, but the events are about much more than business leads.

“The speakers are world leaders in science and technology, tackling big, complex topics so we tend to attract – and we consciously target – those who are serious about innovation and collaboration,” Ms Laird-Portch said.

“We say the Innovation Series is about ‘connecting people to ideas and ideas to people’ and this approach has given us a loyal audience of like-minded people that other, broader events have failed to attract.

“We are very excited about expanding this community to Melbourne,” she concluded.