The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-11-03T21:48:06Z 2020: A year of rapid digital change 2020-11-03T21:48:06Z 2020-a-year-of-rapid-digital-change-1 The Internet of Things (IoT) – devices with sensors enabled by connectivity and enhanced by artificial intelligence and data analytics – presents significant opportunities to improve businesses and our individual and collective quality of life.No other year has highlighted the opportunities and challenges of emerging digital technologies. The IoT is globally recognised as one of the emerging technologies that will continue to cause disruptive change in our cities and regions over the next decade. The IoT presents a critical economic opportunity for Australia. In 2016-17, IoT activity – from goods and services that enable an internet connection – was already worth $74.3 billion to the economy, with growth in gross value added (GVA) outpacing the Australian economy overall since 2014-15. An Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) report released today highlights the significant benefit Australia can derive from the IoT. The report explores a range of application across Australian cities and regions; to create an on-demand manufacturing sector, monitor carbon emissions in our supply chains, track energy usage in our homes, enhance telehealth to tailor patient care and support the monitoring and treatment of COVID-19 patients in their own homes.The ACOLA study provides critical evidence of the IoT’s potential opportunities and challenges, with practical measures for governments, industry and community to build community understanding, safeguard the rights of citizens, build workforce capabilities and ensure the appropriate regulatory environment is in place.This report, the sixth in ACOLA’s Horizon Scanning series, was commissioned by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO FAA FTSE FAHMS on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). This study was supported by the Australian Research Council (project number CS170100007) and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. Dr Finkel said, “The ACOLA IoT report examines how we can improve the way we live through using technology. It also shows how industries can grow by facilitating better processes and automation. Reflecting on the challenges of 2020, IoT could help us monitor environmental disasters, support pandemic management and enhance the delivery of services to regional and remote populations. The IoT can also be useful to track and demonstrate sustainability in supply chains, such as low emissions products, and will assist industry to create a greater trust in data.”The Chair of the study’s expert group, Professor Bronwyn Fox FTSE said, “Digital transformation has been fast-tracked this year due to COVID-19. It has shown that Australians are able to adapt to digital technologies quickly when needed, and it is fascinating to imagine where we will be in ten years’ time. It is vital that policy makers, industry and community work together to ensure we can continue to evolve and use IoT for the benefit of businesses and individuals in cities and regional Australia.”ACOLA’s Chair, Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA noted, “The Government has already taken steps to improve Australia’s readiness for the IoT. The release of the IoT Code of Practice is a welcome signal to industry to improve the security of IoT devices and protect consumer safety to maximise gains from IoT and other emerging technologies.”The report and summary paper are available at https://acola.org/hs5-internet-of-things-australia. Background:The project drew together expertise of Australia’s Learned Academies and the Royal Society of Te Apārangi New Zealand, and involved consultation with all levels of governments, academia and industry. The study was led by an expert group comprising:- Professor Bronwyn Fox FTSE (Chair)- Professor Gerard Goggin FAHA- Professor Deborah Lupton FASSA- Professor Holger Regenbrecht - Professor Paul Scuffham FAHMS- Professor Branka Vucetic FAA FTSEThe Horizon Scanning Series is commissioned by Australia’s Chief Scientist, on behalf of the NSTC. Previous reports have focused on the future of agricultural technologies, artificial intelligence, precision medicine, synthetic biology and the role of energy storage in Australia. Reports can be accessed at https://acola.org/programs/horizon-scanning-series/Media contactFor more information or to arrange interviews, contact: Sheena Ireland0458 038 555sheena@sicomms.com.auAbout ACOLAACOLA is the forum whereby Australia’s Learned Academies and our Associate members come together to contribute expert advice to inform national policy; and to develop innovative solutions to complex global problems and emerging national needs. Through the learned academies, ACOLA has access to more than 3,000 of Australia’s greatest minds to bring together critical thinking and evidence to inform robust policy decisions. Australia’s agricultural future: growing with technology 2020-09-28T21:09:47Z australias-agricultural-future-growing-with-technology Drought, climate variability, biosecurity, global competition and consumer preferences are some of the greatest challenges facing Australian farmers, their impacts threatening our position amongthe most efficient primary producers in the world. However, Australia’s primary producers have a long history of embracing innovation and adopting technology to improve productivity and adapt to harsh conditions.The Future of Agricultural Technologies report released today by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) identifies and discusses the technologies that could address these challenges and bring about both incremental and transformational changes to increase the profitability, sustainability and productivity of our agriculture industry.The report was commissioned by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council, with support from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. It is the fifth report in ACOLA’s Horizon Scanning series, which draws on the expertise of Australia’s Learned Academies and the Royal Society of Te Apārangi.“Australia’s diverse agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector is a $69 billion industry, delivering significant benefits for our nation—particularly at a time where our economy is facing unprecedented challenges. However, reaching the Government’s goal of $100 billion by 2030 will likely require more than just incremental technological advancements,” Dr Finkel said.“Historically, Australian producers have been rapid adopters of innovation, and these emerging technologies will help our agriculture sector to transform and tackle current and future challenges.”Professor Stewart Lockie, one of the Chairs for the ACOLA Expert Working Group, said, “Innovation in our agriculture sector is critical for our economy, our food security and so much more. With a supportive policy environment, workforce and investment, we are confident that the future of agriculture in Australia will be one in which data analytics and artificial intelligence are as at-home on the farm as they are in any other high-tech industry”.The digitisation of farms through the ‘Internet of Things’ and data gathering and use will likely play a central role in future farm management strategies, allowing farms to track resources, monitor animal and plant health, support farm labour activities and enable precision agriculture.Other technologies could help us develop new products to meet climatic conditions and respond to consumer preferences, such as authenticating a product’s origins and quality assurance.ACOLA Chair, Professor Joy Damousi said that increasing technology uptake in our agriculture sector can also help Australia to maximise opportunities for regional employment, business development and Indigenous landholders. She also noted that there are clear roles for all stakeholders in supporting the sector to realise the potential of these new technologies, including to stimulate the agricultural technology and innovation ecosystemand build consumer confidence.The report examines the opportunities presented by nine technologies to improve the efficiency and profitability of agricultural production, develop novel agricultural industries and markets, and to contribute to a range of social and environmental values. The report explores technologies such as sensors, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, machine learning, large scale optimisation and data fusion, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and distributed ledger technology. Importantly, the report highlightsthe range of challenges and considerations for governments, industry and the wider sector to further develop and enable the adoption of these technologies. A copy of the report and summary paper is attached (and will be available at https://acola.org/hs6-future-agricultural-technologies/)The Horizon Scanning Series is commissioned by Australia’s Chief Scientist, on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council. Previous reports have focused on artificial intelligence, precision medicine, synthetic biology and the role of energy storage in Australia. Reports can be accessed at https://acola.org/programs/horizon-scanning-series/ Expert Working GroupProfessor Stewart Lockie FASSA (Chair: from Sept 2019)Dr Kate Fairley-Grenot FAICD FTSE (Chair: Dec 2018 – Sept 2019)Professor Rachel AnkenyProfessor Linda Botterill FASSAProfessor Barbara Howlett FAAProfessor Alex McBratney FAAProfessor Elspeth Probyn FAHA FASSAProfessor Tania Sorrell AM FAHMSProfessor Salah Sukkarieh FTSEProfessor Ian Woodhead Media contactFor more information or to arrange interviews, contact: Ryan WinnChief Executive, ACOLA0484 814 040 About ACOLAACOLA is the forum whereby Australia’s Learned Academies and our Associate members come together to contribute expert advice to inform national policy; and to develop innovative solutions to complex global problems and emerging national needs. Through the learned academies, ACOLA has access to more than 3,000 of Australia’s greatest minds to bring together critical thinking and evidence to inform robust policy decisions. Research investment will be vital to Victoria’s economic recovery 2020-09-15T20:48:14Z research-investment-will-be-vital-to-victorias-economic-recovery Victoria’s recovery from a year of crisis will rely on continued commitment to research and innovation – both key drivers of economic growth. A report released today by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) shows that past investments in research have created jobs and attracted significant further investments for the state economy.The report, entitled Stimulating the Science and Research Ecosystem Creates Jobs and Investment provides evidence in support of continued investment in research infrastructure, skills and talent attraction, to deliver jobs and economic stability for Victoria’s future.The report was commissioned by Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) Victoria, to better understand the value of the research ecosystem and how it can stimulate economic activity in the short and long term. It reveals that past Victorian Government funding initiatives in the research ecosystem have delivered substantial economic impact and jobs over time. For example, research infrastructure investments in light-weight manufacturing at Carbon Nexus has catalysed an employment precinct in Geelong that supports around 1400 jobs, and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication has assisted in the attraction of over $300 million in research investment while supporting industry to develop a range of commercial products.Speaking on the report, ACOLA Chair Professor Joy Damousi noted that investing in science, research and innovation is the key reason why we have been able to respond quickly and decisively to emerging issues. “Our response to the unprecedented bushfires of last summer and the current COVID-19 pandemic has been underpinned by research. As we move through a recession with significant pressure placed on our country, it is the continued investment in research that will see us create jobs, stimulate activity and generate positive returns to strengthen our economy and resilience for the future,” Professor Damousi said. Dr Caples said that Victorian public research institutions have played an important role in helping Australia and the world understand the responses to COVID-19, including developing vaccines and treatments as well as leading research into the social impact of the pandemic.“COVID-19 has crystallised the need for Victoria and Australia to be more self-sufficient, better prepared for unexpected events and changes, and able to seize opportunities to improve government service delivery and business resilience. This means that our capacity to innovate and find solutions must grow to match the big challenges of today and the future,” Dr Caples said.“There has never been a more crucial time to invest in science, research and innovation.”With the continuing spread of COVID-19, governments and industries must look to strategies that can both support our wellbeing and prosperity. ACOLA CEO Ryan Winn encouraged all governments, not just the Victorian Government, to consider the evidence outlined in the report to understand the value universities and the research sector can provide to safeguarding our future, to tackle both the known and unknown issues Australia will face.Download a copy of the 28-page report via the www.acola.org/stimulating-science-research-ecosystem. The report includes case-studies from the Australian Synchrotron, the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium, the Victorian Biomedical Imaging Capability, Carbon Nexus and Victorian Endowment for Science, Knowledge and Innovation. It also includes Notable examples and activities in Victorian Universities in relation to the public research response to COVID-19.Media contactFor more information or to arrange interviews, contact: Ryan WinnChief Executive, ACOLA0484 814 040About ACOLAACOLA is the forum whereby Australia’s Learned Academies and our Associate members come together to contribute expert advice to inform national policy; and to develop innovative solutions to complex global problems and emerging national needs. Through the learned academies, ACOLA has access to more than 3,000 of Australia’s greatest minds to bring together critical thinking and evidence to inform robust policy decisions. What will it take for you to trust artificial intelligence? 2020-08-17T20:47:50Z what-will-it-take-for-you-to-trust-artificial-intelligence Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping to improve our society, enhance Australia’s wellbeing, improve environmental sustainability and create a more equitable, inclusive and fair society. But as we work to reshape government delivery with AI, are we asking the right questions? The role of AI, including policy implications and the nature of industry in society, is being discussed today in a live-stream event co-hosted by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) and the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA).ACOLA CEO Ryan Winn said the event will feature a keynote presentation by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO and a panel discussion with ACOLA’s AI Expert Group and key Government officials leading AI implementation. “The event will give rise to further discussion on the future opportunities and challenges of AI in industry and Government operations and service delivery, and what implications this will have on society for 2030,” Mr Winn said.In his speech, Dr Finkel will pose the question: “What will it take for you to trust artificial intelligence”. "Last year, I launched ACOLA’s AI report, which serves us as a foundation for the future and is the basis of our discussions today. The report notes that there’s no magic solution to any policy challenge—least of all the innovative applications of AI. Instead, it comes back to the essential foundation of trust,” Dr Finkel said.ACOLA’s Chair and President of the Australian Academy of Humanities, Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA added that “AI and other new technologies can be poorly understood across policy makers and society, which is a barrier to their uptake. This is even though they present significant opportunities to improve the liveability, wellbeing and productivity of our cities and regions.”Mr Winn said the AI discussion was timely with a number of emerging technologies offering extraordinary opportunities for Australia. The AI report and ACOLA’s Internet of Things (IoT) horizon scanning report (to be released later this year) highlight how new technologies will improve our lives—from enabling smart transport, optimising manufacturing to improving health care."Discussions like we are having today help us all to ask the right questions that support robust yet rapid research and awareness that can see Australia embrace the opportunities AI and other new technologies offer to maintain our global competitiveness in an increasingly digitalised world,” Mr Winn said.The event will be livestreamed between 9am and 10.30am AEST. The event is open to all. A recording can be obtained on request. More information is provided below.Media contactFor more information or to arrange interviews, contact: Ryan Winn, Chief Executive on 0484 814 040.The role of AI in Australia in 2030—eventThis live stream event will showcase the Commonwealth funded ACOLA AI report released in July 2019, the discussion will highlight the importance of multidisciplinary thinking, with a chance to increase productive dialogue between academia and policymakers.Panel members are:Professor Genevieve Bell AO, Director, 3A Institute, Australian National UniversityDr Simon Barry (Panellist), Deputy Director, Data 61Narelle Luchetti, Head of Division, Digital Economy and Technology, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and ResourcesDavid Hazlehurst, Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, IPAA ACT CouncillorInformation about the event is available on the IPAA website. Media can register to attend.ACOLA AI reportA copy of the AI report can be downloaded from the ACOLA website. ACOLA IoT reportThe IoT report is expected to be released later this year. Information about the research project underpinning the report is on the ACOLA website. About ACOLAACOLA is the forum whereby Australia’s Learned Academies and our Associate members come together to contribute expert advice to inform national policy; and to develop innovative solutions to complex global problems and emerging national needs. Through the learned academies, ACOLA has access to more than 3,000 of Australia’s greatest minds to bring together critical thinking and evidence to inform robust policy decisions.Australian Chief Scientist’s keynoteDr Finkel’s speech will be available from 0900 AEST Tuesday 19 August on the Office of Chief Scientist website.