Meeting the challenges together – government, industry, researchers

Over 120 people including sixty industry representatives from 44 organisations attended the School’s biennial industry research forum held on 13 Feb 2018 at UNSW’s CBD campus in O’Connell St. With the major theme as ‘meeting the challenges together’ it was a day at which the cutting edge research of the School was showcased, not just with research outcomes, but more pertinently with results of our successful and ongoing collaborations with industry and government.

MC for the day was the School’s Industry Advisory Committee IAC Chair Ian McIntyre, who declared that ‘Today’s event is intended to be a conversation starter, not just a series of presentations.’

Professor Stephen Foster, Head of School affirmed that ‘This forum is a two way conversation to help the School assess its future direction in research.’Advisian Professor of Transport Innovation Travis Waller

Industry and universities have extensive opportunities to work together in the coming years, particularly as new technologies change existing engineering and manufacturing practices.

Advisian Professor of Transport Innovation Travis Waller spoke of the Australian Government’s report “Australia 2030, Prosperity through Innovation”, and how the School was contributing towards this with solution-driven approaches to design, construction and management of the built environment using leading edge techniques.

There’s a need to embrace new opportunities for industry and academic innovation, but to do it successfully, said Dr Robert Care, AM, there needs also to be an emphasis on building strong relationships. Ones that respect different drivers that industry and academic bring into collaborative relationships.

Warwick Dawson, Director of UNSW’s Knowledge Exchange (KE), informed the audience that his department can help with bridging this gap.

Parallel sessions provided more opportunities for knowledge sharing, industry networking, and collective exploring of challenging issues. CVEN presentations and industry discussions were grouped under four topical themes: 

  • Smart cities: managing our complex 21st century societies 
  • Resilient communities:  engineering for adaptation and safety
  • Disruptive technologies - engineering a transformed global landscape
  • Sustainable, strong and socially just – engineers make the world a better place.

Late afternoon saw presentations by CVEN HDR students who used posters and short speeches to outline their areas of research. Projects ranged from looking at risks to autonomous vehicles from malicious data, modelling for urban transport planning and appraisal, Construction Safety Training, satellite assisted flood forecasting, and studies of the resilience of climate models in the face of changing climate patterns.

The overall message of the forum was the need for holistic and long term thinking in policy and research, full sharing of information and data, and for industry, government and academia to seek deep and lasting ways of working together.

As industry participant Sid French, Principal Structural Engineer at Advisian, remarked, “The key to our evolution to the new paradigms lies in co-operative partnerships with organisations like UNSW who are generating the smarts to make the future happen.”

See pictures of the Forum.

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