Media Release

ACTIVATE 2022 to address burgeoning STEM career shortage

27 April 2022


ACTIVATE 2022 symposium to address science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career shortage

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) has today announced its inaugural ACTIVATE Symposium from October 25-27 at the Sydney Masonic Centre.

The event will bring together over 500 high-level representatives from across government, business and academia in a first-of-its-kind event. The symposium aims to help Australia meet the post-pandemic challenge of a burgeoning STEM skills shortage and to create a future-focused strategy – from kindergarten to the workforce.

The event will feature high-profile speakers such as Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist; Hon. Alister Andrew Henskens, Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology NSW Government; Tanya Monro, Chief Defence Scientist; Bernie Hobbs, ABC New Inventors presenter, among many more to be announced.

On the heels of the Australian Federal Election, ACTIVATE 2022 will focus on Australia’s opportunity to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and become a technological powerhouse driven by a clean and sustainable economy, skilled workforce and world-class research activity and commercialisation.

Professor Hugh Bradlow FTSE, President of ATSE said, “By 2024, we need 100,000 more digitally skilled workers. By 2025, we need 40,000 more engineers. By 2030, up to 30% of existing jobs could be displaced by automation. We are unprepared for the future and the clock is ticking.

“ACTIVATE 2022 is an event designed to create a plan across government, industry and academia for a significantly enhanced technology workforce – informed by our countries leading and emerging applied scientists, engineers and technologists,” said Professor Bradlow.

Kylie Walker, CEO of ATSE said, “Now more than ever, we need the strength that comes with diverse perspectives. This is critical to recover from COVID-19 pandemic, respond to international instability and confront the already devastating impacts of climate change.

“Yet diversity in STEM remains a major issue. Women, culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are inadequately represented. We need diverse change-makers to help shape Australia’s future STEM workforce and meet these challenges head-on,” said Walker.

ACTIVATE 2022 will also celebrate the outstanding achievement of Australians across five prestigious award categories, who are working in applied science, technology and engineering. The annual ATSE Awards will showcase the winners in an exclusive gala dinner event during the conference on the evening of October 26.

Award categories

The Clunies Ross Awards recognise people who have shared their vision and knowledge to apply technology for the benefit of Australia. The three categories are:

  • Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award
  • Clunies Ross Innovation Award

The Batterham Medal is an early career award for a graduate engineer who has achieved substantial peer/industry recognition for their work in the past five years.

The ICM Agrifood Awards recognises and acknowledges the outstanding work of two early career scientists or technologists.

Ezio Rizzardo Polymer Scholarship acknowledges the potential impact of an outstanding PhD candidate in polymer science or engineering.

The David and Valerie Solomon Award is a early-mid career award for a science or technology graduate working in academia/research or industry R&D who demonstrates substantial ability to foster research-industry collaboration and knowledge transfer for the benefit of Australia.

For more information and to register for the ACTIVATE 2022 symposium click here:

For more information and to nominate outstanding emerging innovators for the ATSE Awards click here: ATSE Awards | ATSE

Media contact
Edwyn Shiell
Director, Strategic Communications
0402 254 968

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering is a Learned Academy of independent experts helping Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems.