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ATSE column

Moving Our Focus from Innovation to Productivity

By Alan Finkel

Innovative businesses achieve better productivity and profitability.

In recent years both business and government have taken a far stronger focus on innovation and its implicit national benefits, such as productivity. Australia is better for this, but we still have a long way to go to convert the “virtuous circle” of research and innovation into commercial advantage and the resulting international economic success that follows.

Australia Needs an “Assistive Technology” Network

By Greg Tegart

We must address the disconnect between assistive technology research and its translation into commercialisation and practice.

Professor Greg Tegart AM FTSE is Chair of the ATSE Health and Technology Forum. He has had a long and varied career in academia, industry and government in Australia and overseas in the areas of teaching, research, management and high level policy advice to government on science, technology and the environment.

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Four Academies Are Working Together

By Robin Batterham

Australia’s four learned academies are integrating their expertise in science, technology, social science and humanities to form a better evidence base for advice to government.

Professor Robin Batterham AO FREng FAA FTSE finishes his term as President of ATSE in December. He is a former Chief Scientist for Australia and was Rio Tinto’s most senior scientist before taking his current appointment as the Kernot Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

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Open Innovation: Work With Your Competitors

By Erol Harvey

Clients, customers, buyers and competitors are innovation sources second only in importance to internal employees.

Erol Harvey FTSE is CEO of MiniFAB (Aust) Pty Ltd, a product development company and manufacturer of polymer-based microfluidic, lab-on-a-chip diagnostic devices. He is a former Professor of Microtechnology at Swinburne University.

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Let’s Get Positive about Innovation

By Alan Finkel

Recognition and acceptance that we will fail from time to time is a necessary part of belief that we can succeed.

Dr Alan Finkel AM FTSE is Chancellor of Monash University, President-elect of ATSE, former CTO of Better Place Australia and Chairman of the Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics. For 20 years Dr Finkel ran Axon Instruments, an American company that made electronic instruments used by pharmaceutical companies. He established the Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience to provide advanced training to young scientists and the STELR secondary school science program, administered by ATSE, which is currently running in nearly 300 secondary schools around Australia.

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The “Good Enough” Education System

By Professor Mary O’Kane

Does Australia have the education system it needs for a vibrant economic future?

Professor Mary O’Kane FTSE is the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer and also Executive Chairman of Mary O’Kane & Associates Pty Ltd, which advises governments, universities and the private sector on innovation, research education and development. She is also Chair of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy and the CRC for Spatial Information.

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How to Address the Engineering Shortage

By Archie Johnston

Shaping the future of a thriving Australia means addressing the national opportunity cost by building engineering capacity.

Professor Archie Johnston FTSE chairs the ATSE Education Forum and is Dean of Engineering and Information Technologies at The University of Sydney. He was National Chair of the Centre for Leadership and Management, Judging Panel member of the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes, and Chair of the Judging Panel for the Australian Construction Achievement Awards. He was the Sir John Holland 2007 Civil Engineer of the Year and 2007 Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year of the Business and Higher Education Roundtable.

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Technology Underpins Better Water Management

By Brian Spies

Water policy needs to accelerate the development and uptake of efficient technologies that can adapt rapidly to changing climate and population.

Dr Brian Spies FTSE is Deputy Chair of the ATSE Water Forum. His career spans senior research and management roles in resource and environmental sectors in Australia and the USA, and most recently he was Principal Scientist, Sustainability and Climate Change, at the Sydney Catchment Authority.

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Energy Future Needs a Portfolio Approach

By Martin Thomas

Nuclear options must be part of the low-carbon discussion.

Mr Martin Thomas AM FTSE HonFIEAust chairs the ATSE Energy Forum and is chair of Energy Technologies Limited and Dulhunty Poles Limited. He was a former Principal of Sinclair Knight Merz and a member of the 2006 Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review.

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Enhancing Women’s Career Prospects

By Mark Toner

Women need better career options and more control over their professional lives.

Dr Mark Toner FTSE is a company director and management consultant and Immediate Past Chair of Australian Science Innovations. With Gunilla Burrowes he runs a gender consulting business, Gender Matters. Ms Burrowes is an electrical engineer with extensive experience with gender issues in engineering.

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