The Australian economy faces disruption at an unprecedented pace, spurred by the evolution of technology and global trends. To prepare for this new world, Australia must adopt and adapt the world’s emerging technologies to keep up.
The Academy is developing a roadmap of what Australian industries must do to maintain currency, and to integrate new and emerging technologies to boost our economic advantage.
Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects (LASP), the research project will run for three years and examine key industry sectors with a horizon out to 2030.
The first report examined the transport sector and the second is looking at the health sector. A third report will deal with the waste and resource recovery sector.
The technology readiness project, co-chaired by Academy Fellows Kathryn Fagg AO FTSE and Drew Clarke AO PSM FTSE, is guided by a steering committee of Fellows and informed by expert working groups of Fellows for each topic.
Each of the chosen key industry sectors is assessed against five cross-sectoral parameters of technology readiness:
- Infrastructure readiness
The uptake of technologies will necessitate a significant change in supporting infrastructure. The parameters of infrastructure readiness include networks, technology platforms, physical equipment, availability of technology, and sector-specific infrastructure.
- Skills readiness
Essential to Australia’s success in technology development, adaptation, and adoption will be the skills mix of Australians, who will likely require a range of expertise that doesn’t even exist yet. Parameters of skills readiness include depth of skills, digital literacy, talent acquisition, and education and research pipeline.
- Social readiness
Attitudes to new technologies within businesses as well as communities will require support and education. Social readiness includes willingness to take up new technologies, openness to change, drive to change, and ethical and legal readiness.
- Commercial readiness
Businesses will need to prioritise key activities to embrace the change in the market, seeking opportunity in a range of commercial activities. Parameters of commercial readiness include ability to spend capital on new technology, timeframe to market, investment appeal, right business strategies, new business models and fostering entrepreneurialism.
- Policy and regulatory readiness
Australian governments must introduce flexible and adaptable legislative frameworks that can keep pace with technology innovation and ensure that Australia becomes a key competitive player in the global market. Policy and regulatory readiness includes regulation and legislation to enable technology uptake, and policy environment.
Uniquely, the Academy is consulting widely with industry, government and research stakeholders through surveys, dialogues, workshops and roundtable discussions to inform our assessments of technology readiness in each industry. This consultation ensures our findings are objective, robust and can be used equally to start conversations with policy-makers, industry leaders and research bodies.
Project co-chair Mr Clarke said: “The project will use the breadth of the Academy’s expertise to bring together otherwise siloed aspects of industry, and this will be a contribution that existing projects don’t have.”
The outcome of the project is advice for policy-makers and research organisations on what should be done to ensure technology readiness. Each report identifies key research areas to address knowledge gaps, recommendations to support jobs of the future and future skill needs, and policy actions to facilitate industry readiness.
Following the completion of the project in 2020, a final paper will share economy-wide learnings for technology readiness, and include suggestions for policy-makers, industry and research to ensure Australia is not just technology-ready, but can make the most of the opportunities that emerging and disruptive technologies represent.