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Directions

ATSE column

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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Focus on Education to Feed the Future

By Kadambot Siddique

Agricultural science education is a national priority for the nation’s food security.

Winthrop Professor Kadambot Siddique AM FTSE is Chair in Agriculture and Director of the UWA Institute of Agriculture at The University of Western Australia.

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Boosting Our Innovation Dividend

By Vaughan Beck

It’s time for urgent action to drive productivity and prosperity.

Dr Vaughan Beck FTSE is Executive Director – Technical with the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and led its campaign on innovation issues during 2011.

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Six Steps to a Balanced Economy

By Andrew Liveris

Australia can take six steps to secure its future as a balanced economy, says the Australian CEO of a global company.

Dr Andrew Liveris FTSE is Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical. An Australian-born chemical engineer, he is co-chair of President Barack Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, and delivered the keynote address at the Australian Government Future Jobs Forum in Canberra in October.

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Strengthening the Weakest Link

By John Bell

Australia needs to develop better incentives for public–private sector collaboration.

Through initiatives like the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) programs, Australia has a long history of encouraging public researchers to seek links with firms and other end users of research. These “supply-side” innovation measures encourage researchers to supply their skills and experience to innovating companies.

Productivity, Competitiveness and the Missing Link

By Terry Cutler

The debate about Australia’s flagging productivity and competitiveness has overlooked one vital factor – and some local role models.

Productivity is finally back in the headlines, if only because action on the nation’s productivity has been missing just when it is most needed.

Competitiveness is back on the agenda, too, but only as the flipside of a worrying resurgence of talk about protectionist bail-outs for underperforming industries now hit with adverse exchange rates and increased trade exposure.

Pricing Carbon to Fix the Problem

By Peter Laver

Peter Laver says that Australia should look closely at rewarding emissions reductions rather than just taxing emissions production.

The debate about carbon pricing – and the government’s announcement about its “carbon tax” – risks losing sight of what we are trying to achieve.

Rather than the debate being about compensation, wealth redistribution, making “polluters pay”, international competitiveness, exemptions and impacts on growth, we really need to focus on capital investment. We should use most of the money coming from pricing carbon to fix the problem – to make the necessary investments in low-carbon electricity generation and transport, and improved energy efficiency.