ignite innovation

Victorian universities, business and government collaborate to commercialise local smart ideas.

ignite is an exciting and ground breaking collaboration between the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the state’s leading universities and the Victorian Government.

ignite will position Victorian business and research as world leaders in innovation, new technology development and creativity.

ignite will bring together business leaders with universities in bespoke partnerships to research, develop and commercialise innovative products, services, business model and processes.

ignite is supported by the Victorian government and will confirm this state as the knowledge capital of Australia.

ignite highlight videos - previous events

ignite+VU 19 July 2019 Mental health - it's on everyone's mind

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Mental health - it's on everyone's mind

Poor mental health is a huge individual, social and economic problem and with denser urbanisation, ingrained social media use and increasingly sedentary lives, it is worsening. The distribution of poor mental health is also unequal in our community.

Without understanding the drivers of poor mental health across different population groups, we are at risk of delivering ineffective services, programs and policies.

Victoria is currently leading the way with the recent Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and Victoria University is at the forefront of research and best practice. Hear from three experts about how interventions which change physical activity and the use of social media can improve the mental health of society in general, of your workplace, of your family, and of you.

VU has a great track record in key translational research areas that concern society surrounding physical activity, mental health and wellbeing. These are underpinned by chronic disease and areas of female body image/dissatisfaction.

Professor Alexandra Parker

Alex Parker is a clinical researcher who specialises in physical activity and mental health. She leads a multidisciplinary research group that engages in projects that aim to measure, understand, and promote exercise and physical activity to optimise mental wellbeing and prevent and treat mental illness. Alex’s major research interests include translating research findings into practice through workforce development and implementation studies, and the mental health and wellbeing of elite athletes. She also works as a sessional clinical psychologist in a youth mental health service.

Associate Professor Melinda Craike

Melinda has an internationally recognised research track record in understanding physical activity engagement in healthy and clinical population groups, with a particular focus on behaviour change. She has a strong interest in research translation and has partnered with government, health and community sectors to improve health outcomes.Melinda’s work has informed the development of physical activity programs for national schools and clinical populations, as well as sport policies aimed at encouraging female participation, municipal physical activity strategy and community service delivery.

Dr Siân McLean

Siân is a lecturer in Psychology and a Research Fellow in the Institute for Health and Sport. Her research focuses on sociocultural and individual factors that contribute to body dissatisfaction in children, adolescents, and adults. Her work specifically looks at how viewing and using social media and exposure to appearance ideal images leads to body dissatisfaction, and the role of media literacy in protecting against these negative effects. Siân is also highly experienced in school-based prevention and the evaluation of programs to improve body dissatisfaction and wellbeing.

with Professor Peter Dawkins, Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University

ignite+RMIT 3 May 2019 Australia’s growing social economy - opportunities and challenges for business

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Australia’s growing social economy - opportunities and challenges for business

The rapid growth of the social economy is accelerating, driven by the roll out of the NDIS, an ageing population and the findings of major reviews including the current Royal Commission into aged care.

Technology, innovation and new ways of working will be essential to address capability and capacity gaps created by such unprecedented growth – as will attracting and retaining appropriately qualified people.

RMIT University is leading a multi-pronged, multi-disciplinary approach to navigating the complex challenges ahead. Together with the right policy settings, this will become the foundations for a thriving social economy sector.

Emma King

Emma King

Emma King is a leading advocate on social justice issues for the community sector in her role as CEO of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS). She was previously CEO of the Early Learning Association Australia (formerly Kindergarten Parents Victoria) and has extensive experience working in the public sector as well as with education and workforce issues.

Micaela Cronin

Micaela Cronin

Micaela Cronin is an outstanding contributor to the field of social services and is the newly appointed Director of the Future Social Service Institute (FSSI). She has extensive leadership and governance experience in service delivery across a broad range of fields. Notably, Micaela served as the global CEO of Hagar International and as CEO of MacKillop Family Services.

Tony Graham

Tony Graham

Tony Graham is the Associate Dean, Social Futures at the School of Vocational Design and Social Context at RMIT. He is a trusted voice in health and community services, with more than 30 years’ experience in the sector across various governance and senior management roles at a state and regional level.

Dr Leah Heiss

Dr Leah Heiss

Dr Leah Heiss is a designer and RMIT academic working across healthcare, technology and experience. She has collaborated with experts in nanotechnology, engineering, health services and manufacturing to bring human-centred technologies and experiences to life. She most recently designed Facett, the world’s first self-fit modular hearing aid for profit-for-purpose company, Blamey Saunders hears.

David Hayward

MC: Professor David Hayward

Professor David Hayward is one of the foremost authorities on public policy, governance and management. He is an Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and the Social Economy in the Future Social Service Institute (FSSI), served as Acting Director of FSSI for two year and is now assisting the newly appointed Director, Micaela Cronin.

Martin Bean CBE

with Martin Bean CBE, Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT

ignite+Swinburne 19 February 2019 Space Tech - the new Australian industry

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Space Tech - the new Australian industry

Space is no longer the final frontier but the latest opportunity for our industry, enabling Australia to access global value chains through advanced technology innovation.

What does this truly mean for Victorian businesses? How do you effectively engage in the space technology sector?

Swinburne University is at the forefront of research and development in this field, supporting industry to realise the immense opportunities that space provides to our businesses.

Bernard Meade seeing the big picture

Hidden Universe

Image as seen in the 3D production "Hidden Universe". Hidden Universe is a December Cinema Productions film produced in association with Film Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology, and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Professor Alan Duffy

Associate Professor Duffy is an astrophysicist at Swinburne University of Technology and Lead Scientist of the Royal Institution of Australia. His research involves creating baby universes on supercomputers to understand how galaxies like our Milky Way form and grow within vast halos of invisible dark matter. He then tries to find this dark matter as part of SABRE, the world's first dark matter detector in the Southern Hemisphere at the bottom of the Stawell gold mine. When not exploring the simulated universe you can find him explaining science on ABC Breakfast TV, Catalyst and Ten's The Project.

Professor Matthew Bailes

Professor Matthew Bailes is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) and an ARC Laureate Fellow. He recognised the role supercomputing and big data was about to have in astrophysics as a junior postdoc and accepted Swinburne's invitation to establish the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing in 1998. He designs supercomputers to acquire and process the prolific amount of data that is generated by modern radio telescopes, and has been involved in the discovery of many remarkable astrophysical objects that include the Fast Radio Bursts, mysterious cosmic signals that briefly light up the radio sky for just a millisecond and started their long journey to the Earth before it was even created. Most recently he is leading Australia's foray into the new field of gravitational wave astrophysics as the Director of OzGrav. This exciting new field takes the gravitational pulse of the Universe using the most sophisticated listening device ever conceived Advanced LIGO, and witnesses the destruction of pairs of black hole and neutron star binaries in the distant Universe. OzGrav brings this science to the general public using a combination of animations and virtual reality technologies that Professor Bailes will use in his presentation.

Professor Bronwyn Fox

Bronwyn Fox is Director of Swinburne's Manufacturing Futures Research Institute, where her mission is to support transition of Australia’s industries into Industry 4.0 - the fourth industrial revolution. She has demonstrated a sustained commitment to support the growth of the carbon fibre and composite industry in Australia through targeted research and was previously a co-founder of the Carbon Nexus facility at Deakin University, a core part of a $100 million dollar precinct in Geelong. Leveraging her specific knowledge of materials engineering, Bronwyn builds multidisciplinary teams who work with the manufacturing sector to ensure they are digitally equipped and linked into global supply chains. Bronwyn is an internationally recognised expert on carbon fibre and composite materials and has worked extensively with the automotive and aerospace industries globally. She has published more than 170 papers during her career. Bronwyn is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

Professor Virginia Kilborn

Professor Virginia Kilborn is a radio astronomer with the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology. Her primary research interests include tracing galaxy evolution by studying the neutral hydrogen gas in galaxies, and she is now working towards preparations for surveys with the next generation radio telescopes, such as the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the SKA. Virginia undertook her PhD studies at the University of Melbourne, and following a post-doc at Jodrell Bank observatory in the UK, she returned to Melbourne to take up an ARC-CSIRO linkage fellowship at Swinburne in 2003. Virginia was deputy director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing from 2011-2013, and acting director for CAS in 2013. From 2015-2018, Virginia was the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Swinburne. Virginia is an enthusiastic educator and has taught into the Swinburne Astronomy online program since 2006 and first year astronomy classes on campus wince 2014 - as well as undertaking numerous public outreach opportunities. Virginia is active in the Australian Astronomical community and has been chair of the Australia Telescope User Committee, a steering committee member for the Women in Astronomy chapter and is the Immediate Past President of the Astronomical Society of Australia. Virginia is a leader in gender equity initiatives in Swinburne and beyond, chairing the Swinburne astrophysics Equity and Diversity committee since 2013, as a leader of the Swinburne-wide Women’s Academic Network, and as a founder of the Women ATTaining Leadership (WATTLE) program. Virginia is a leader of the SHINE project where high school and university students send experiments to the International Space station.

Professor Linda Kristjanson AO

Professor Kristjanson is Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne University. She also Chairs the Board of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Professor Kristjanson is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering. Her academic career spans three decades across Australia, Canada and the United States. Before her current role, Professor Kristjanson was Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Development at Curtin University (2006-2011). She has an extensive research career in palliative care and was the inaugural Chair of Palliative Care, funded by the Cancer Council of Western Australia (2001-2006).

Professor Kristjanson was a member of the Board of the National Health & Medical Research Council (2003-2006). She has served as Non-Executive Director of a number of boards including the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information and the Australian Biosecurity CRC for Emerging Infectious Diseases. In 2002 Professor Kristjanson was named the Australian Telstra Business Woman of the Year in recognition of her entrepreneurial work in health, science and innovation. She was Chair of AuScope Ltd (2008-2017) and served as Non-Executive Director of AARNET, the Australian Synchrotron Holding Company Ltd., and the International Centre for Radioastronomy Research.

In 2007 she was awarded the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Balfour Mount Professorship in Palliative Medicine. In 2012 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Bethlehem Griffith Research Foundation.

In 2017, Professor Kristjanson was made an Officer of the Order of Australia, in honour of distinguished service to tertiary education through leadership and governance roles, strategic and innovative university reforms, contributions to cancer research and palliative care, and to women.

Background: Australia's Space Industry

If you would like to learn more about how your business can use space technology, CSIRO's Space Roadmap provides a comprehensive introduction into the role Australian businesses can play in the industry.

According to CSIRO, the space industry already plays an essential role in the lives of all Australians – "our telecommunications, especially in rural areas, rely on satellite infrastructure. Our industries access accurate satellite images and other data derived from space, our weather forecasts and GPS positioning technologies on our phones rely on space science and space-based infrastructure. The space industry is critical to the way we live our lives."

Australia's space industry is poised for growth thanks to pioneering technology transformation, industry momentum and growing demand for downstream services. This puts Australian business in the box seat to capitalise on these advances in technology to gain a competitive advantage in their marketplaces.

Hidden Universe

Image as seen in the 3D production "Hidden Universe". Hidden Universe is a December Cinema Productions film produced in association with Film Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology, and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

ignite+Deakin 10 October 2018 How artificial intelligence (AI) can stimulate growth and investment

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What is the impact of AI on business and manufacturing in particular? What does it really mean for Victorian business? There are many doomsday scenarios of human redundancy and economic collapse bu Deakin University sees the emergence of AI as undoubtedly a disruptor, but one that can be leveraged to enhance growth and job opportunities.

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution and the trend of improved artificial intelligence (AI). automation and continued technological improvements.

Deakin's Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), led by Australian Laureate Fellow Alfred Deakin Professor Svetha Venkatesh and Professor Kon Mouzakis, is working with other research centres at Deakin to develop new technologies in AI with the aim of driving competitiveness through increased productivity.

Professor Svetha Venkatesh

Professor Svetha Venkatesh, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Centre for Pattern Recognition and Data Analytics (PRaDA) at Deakin University. Professor Venkatesh was awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2017, the highest individual award the Australian Research Council can bestow, and was elected a Fellow of the International Association of Pattern Recognition in 2004 for her contributions to the formulation and extraction of semantics in multimedia data. Professor Venkatesh's research tackles a wide range of problems of societal significance, including the critical areas of autism, security and aged care. This research has led to frontier technologies in large-scale pattern recognition in big data and several start-up companies. For example, her work on using surveillance data led to the development of a "virtual observer" which was used after the 2005 London bombings.

Professor Kon Mouzakis

Professor Kon Mouzakis, Professor of Software and Technology Innovation at Deakin University and Director of the Deakin Software and Technology Innovation Lab (DISTIL). Professor Mouzakis is a decision support and software development expert with over 30 years of experience. He was also recently appointed as the Director, Australian Research Council, Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living. This $5.8 million hub addresses the need for effective, affordable, scalable and safe in-home and in-residential care solutions using current and emerging sensor, interaction and integration technologies. In collaboration with the Alfred Hospital's Trauma Centre, Professor Mouzakis also developed the world first Trauma Reception and Resuscitation Decision Support Tool to minimise the number of errors made by physicians within the first 30 minutes of patient arrival.

Dr. Murray Height

Dr. Murray Height is co-founder and Chief Science Officer of the HeiQ Materials group, and CEO of HeiQ Australia Pty Ltd. After completing his undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and mathematics at the University of Newcastle in 1999, Murray travelled to the USA on a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), completing his PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2003. In 2005, while a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Murray co-founded HeiQ Materials, a spin-off company from ETH Zurich that today is a global business with more than 75 employees located in 10 countries. HeiQ is today a leading innovation provider to more than 150 International textile and apparel brands. Since 2013 Murray has been based in Geelong, Australia and in addition to establishing and leading HeiQ Australia has completed his Executive MBA at Melbourne Business School and is also an Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University.

ignite+VU 20 July 2018 Enhancing human performance through innovation in elite sports

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VU is at the forefront of cutting-edge initiatives in sports science. Through partnerships with organisations such as Western Bulldogs, Tennis Australia, FIFA and Athletics Australia, VU is changing the way player tracking, movement mechanics, skill performance, data analytics and training prescription can be used to enhance athletic performance and how we enjoy sport.

While the contribution of science to Australian high-performance sport has been prominent since the opening of the Australian Institute of Sport in 1981, the role of technology and analytics in supporting high performance athletes has never been more significant than it is today. New technologies and data insights are now having a profound impact on the contribution sports scientists make to athlete and human performance – but in what ways might this change the future of sport for spectators?

VU sports science experts discuss all this and more.

Professor Rob Aughey

Professor Rob Aughey is a world leader in the area of player tracking, a now ubiquitous aspect of professional team sports. At ignite+VU, Professor Aughey shared how his team is leading research for FIFA on the accuracy of player tracking systems and what’s next for athlete tracking.

Dr Alice Sweeting

Dr Alice Sweeting, a joint appointment between VU and the Western Bulldogs, delivers a range of customised sports science services to players and coaches at Bulldogs HQ. At ignite+VU, Dr Sweeting highlighted how technology can provide individualised training programs and monitoring for the players and how the data generated can be used to further enhance their performance.

Dr Karen Mickle

Dr Karen Mickle is a joint appointment between VU and the Victorian Institute of Sport where she is the biomechanist for Athletics Australia's middle-distance runners. As an expert in foot mechanics and footwear, Dr Mickle joined us at ignite+VU to share how she works with medical staff, coaches and athletes to help identify causes of injuries and get athletes back to peak performance.

Professor Damian Farrow

Professor Damian Farrow, a joint appointment between VU and the Australian Institute of Sport, is a world-renowned sports scientist in the area of skill acquisition. At ignite+VU, Professor Farrow shared how science is revolutionising tennis through VU's collaborative venture with Tennis Australia – the Game Insight Group.

ignite+RMIT 16 May 2018 Micro miracles: how nanotechnology can drive better health outcomes

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Nanotechnology – the science of developing materials or devices at a microscopic scale – is capturing global attention for its enormous potential to revolutionise healthcare, as well as computing, telecommunications and environmental protection.

From wearable electronics that detect UV radiation and toxic gases, to delivering drugs more effectively through targeted and controlled release, nanotechnology is driving major advances across medical science and disease treatment.

Join three leading experts from RMIT University for the first event in the ignite series as they highlight the exciting and rapidly expanding opportunities their breakthroughs offer businesses and the wider community.

You’ll also hear about RMIT’s rich history and pre-eminent role in advancing nanotechnology breakthroughs in Australia and beyond.

Drawing on 30 years' experience, RMIT is at the forefront of this field that manipulates particles one-billionth of a metre and often many hundreds of times thinner than a human hair.

From telecommunications to defence and data to health, RMIT is uniquely positioned to help industry unlock the massive opportunities from this micro world.

Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell

Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell presenting at the Victorian Chamber ignite+RMIT event on lab-on-a-chip research, bringing together electronics, fluidics and light on a single integrated circuit. These chips could revolutionise and simplify drug discovery, predictive toxicology and even environmental monitoring.

Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran

Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran presenting at the Victorian Chamber ignite+RMIT event on her development of transparent stretchable and wearable electronic devices. Her sensors have the potential to help the fight against skin cancer, and detect dangerous gases in mines. They could also deliver new technologies like flat optical devices, and smart contact lenses.

Professor Leslie Yeo

Professor Leslie Yeo presenting at the Victorian Chamber ignite+RMIT event on his development of a revolutionary new nebuliser that could one day deliver life-saving cancer drugs and vaccines, traditionally given by injection.

Our partners:

Victoria State Government
logo IP Australia
RMIT University
Victoria University
Deakin University
Swinburne University of Technology

For further information: info@victorianchamber.com.au or telephone: 03 8662 5206

Breakfast at an ignite event

Breakfast and networking opportunities with industry and academic representatives.

Engaging speakers

Engaging speaker presentations from experts in topics like materials science, AI and sport science.

Q&A panel

Post-presentation Q&A panel, allowing audience members to dig deeper into the opportunities presented.

State of the art venues

Engaged audience members exploring new opportunities while enjoying state-of-the-art venues like the MCG.

The program to “bring to market” Victoria’s huge resources of untapped potential was launched on 14 March at a function attended by university and state government leaders, prominent Melbourne business identities as well as Chamber board members and senior executives.

The Victorian Chamber’s Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said the initiative will encourage, foster and guide industry partnerships between Victorian business and the talent within our universities.

“We anticipate real commercial outcomes and benefits,” he said.

Deakin University Vice Chancellor, Jane den Hollander AO said the program offered Victorian businesses the unique opportunity to pursue ideas, work with universities to develop them, and connect with investors to turn them into commercial reality.

The program’s support partners are CSIRO and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

Mr Stone said the initiative came at a time when Australia’s rate of collaboration between universities and business is disappointingly low.

“Annually only nine per cent of Australian small to medium-sized business bring a new idea to market,” he said

The program means that each year, for the next three years, the Victorian Chamber will partner with Victorian universities to stage an event showcasing, exploring and leveraging each university’s areas of expertise.

The series will begin with RMIT University in May followed by others including Victoria University, Swinburne University, and Deakin University.

“We will showcase to the world what we are famous for,” Mr Stone said.

The series aims to:

  • affirm Victoria as the knowledge capital of Australia
  • build partnerships and position Victorian business and research as world leaders in innovation creation, new technology development and creativity
  • encourage more Victorian business leaders to partner with universities to develop innovative products, services, business, models, or processes
  • create stronger links to other innovative economies
  • attract more students, lecturers and researchers from overseas to Victorian universities
  • attract more students, particularly women, to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and
  • attract business and investment within Victoria

Mr Stone said Victoria is renowned for its smart ideas and innovative thinking.

“Think of the first flight recording system, perhaps better known as the “black box”, the invention of the cochlear implant, the revolutionary use of lithium as a mental health treatment and the development of polymer banknotes, “ he said.

“Even every carpenter’s and do-it-yourselfer’s cherished device, the electric drill. They are all Victorian”, he said.

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