Is access to finance holding back business and industry in Melbourne's west? VU researcher Andrew van Hulten wants to find out.
Dr van Hulten will draw a map of the financial infrastructure of Melbourne's west as the first stage of his Postdoctoral Research Fellowship funded by the university last year. He then plans to survey and interview financiers and businesses to ascertain how and to whom credit is extended.
In the final part of his three-year project, Dr van Hulten will explore whether access to finance has become more acute with the gathering economic slowdown and whether policy responses may be necessary.
"Internationally, economists and geographers have spent much time trying to explain why some regions are centres of innovation and economic growth - such as Silicon Valley in the US - while others lag behind," he says.
"Researchers often attribute a particular region's relative lack of success to low levels of education or its firms having few connections to the world economy. This project explores another possibility; that some regions may be constrained by inadequate access to private sector finance.
"These types of issues have received limited academic attention in Australia. Western Melbourne is an interesting place to explore these issues given the region's diverse ethnic make-up and the industrial composition of its economy."
Dr van Hulten's research has been funded by VU as part of its innovative Postdoctoral Research Fellowships program, which aims to build the university's research output and to support outstanding early career researchers.
At the launch of the fellowships program today, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Region Professor Linda Rosenman said: "Dr van Hulten's project is a fine example of the applied research VU is conducting in the western region of Melbourne."
"As the region grows and the local economy moves away from its old heavy manufacturing base business and industry must adapt."
"VU is a vital resource for our local community and industry and we value the relationships we develop with this kind of research."
Media contact: Jim Buckell, A/Senior Media Officer
Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: email@example.com