ACTIVATE 2022 symposium to address STEM skills shortage


The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) has announced its inaugural ACTIVATE Symposium from 25-27 October 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; Tom Snow, chair of Snow Medical; Tanya Monro, chief defence scientist; Sam Maresh, country leader GE Australia; and Bernie Hobbs, ABC New Inventors presenter, among many more. 

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. 

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

“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.” 

According to ATSE CEO, Kylie Walker, diverse perspectives are needed to recover from the pandemic, respond to international instability and confront the 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,” Walker said. “We need diverse change-makers to help shape Australia’s future STEM workforce and meet these challenges head-on.” 

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 26 October. 

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; and 
  • 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 

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