Business is good at Geospatial Research Centre
With $750,000 in external contracts — more than double what was expected – the Geospatial Research Centre’s first year at UC has been what Dr David Park would describe as "outstanding".
The Centre is a partnership between UC, the University of Nottingham (UK) and Canterbury Development Corporation. It was set-up to develop and commercialise means of gathering and interpreting geographic information through the use of new technologies such as satellite navigation devices.
Dr Park, and four other researchers from the University of Nottingham's Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG), moved to Christchurch to establish the new centre 12 months ago.
"We had certain expectations before we started — the size we could be by the end of the year, the contracts we could get, the countries we’d like to engage with — and all of those targets have been exceeded," Dr Park says.
"We targeted to have three PhDs and we’ll have six; we targeted a technical team of five, we’ll probably have seven; we targeted $300,000 of contracts, we’ll have three-quarters of a million. We’ve got contracts from the US, the UK and New Zealand. It’s just going far better than we hoped it might."
Dr Park says a number of factors have contributed to the centre’s early success. These include the support it has received from the University, the region, central government and industry.
And he envisages the centre’s success continuing in the future.
"I would expect that in two years from now we will have a technical team of between 20 to 30 staff, which will be a mixture of permanent staff and PhD students on part-time contracts. That would make us one of the world’s largest centres in the technical space we’re in."