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RMIT Futures Conference - Research Requires Collaboration

04 September 2017 | Melbourne (RMIT)

The RMIT Futures Conference 2017 in Melbourne brought together policymakers, leaders in regional and Australian business, academics and pioneering entrepreneurs for a frank debate about the prerequisites to sustain high quality research and innovation in Australia.

The event was organised by RMIT to present the EU Framework Programme opportunities and discuss with participants Australian participation in EU research. While open to all areas of research, the conference attracted a large crowd from engineering and ICT. It was organised in collaboration with the Slovenian Australian Academic Association.

Attendees included senior research executives, policy makers, researchers, research administrators, students, and SMEs as well as general members of the public, and numbered approximately 70 altogether. The experts engaged in lively discussions about the needs and opportunities for EU-Australian collaboration.

Participants heard from a diverse group of high-profile speakers from Australia’s innovation system, which included the former Chief Scientist (Ian Chubb), the Director-General of IP Australia (Patricia Kelly) and the Chair of the National Broadband Network (Ziggy Switkowski). Speakers emphasised the need for long-term perspectives that reflected genuine social and national needs, going beyond the political cycles, and the potential to motivate large investments into national science and innovation undertakings by mobilising Australia’s large mandated pool of private pension funds.

The event also provided the opportunity for a number of Australian participants in Horizon 2020 projects to detail their story of collaboration with Europe and to reflect upon the challenges presented by such collaborations as well as the mutual benefits attained.

A selection of the topics covered include:

  • Science, technology and the transformation of Australia’s economy in the global limelight
  • Australia’s disrupted funding of international research collaboration
  • Rotating exchange: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
  • Future driving force of new industries like biotech, energy tech, health tech and e-health
  • Collaboration between the private sector and academia in the global context
  • Australia’s place in an innovative world: How can it compete?