Seminar highlights role of productivity, innovation in our future

The president of a leading US authority on productivity will provide the keynote speech at a seminar in Melbourne next month aimed at highlighting the role of science and technology in Australia’s future.

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation president, Dr Robert Atkinson, will argue that innovation powers productivity which, in turn, drives prosperity.

Dr Atkinson, who is based in Washington, is a member of the US Department of Commerce’s National Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy Advisory Board. 

The Melbourne seminar will be hosted by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), focusing on the topic: Productivity, Innovation and Prosperity – The Great Australian Challenge.

“The seminar aims to inform the national debate on productivity, the role of science and technology, and their necessary contribution to prosperity beyond the current mining investment boom – recognising the recent slow pace of productivity growth in Australia,” the organisers say.

The Victorian Minister for Technology and Assistant Treasurer, Gordon Rich-Phillips MLC, will open the seminar, and Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, will deliver the lunch address: Exploiting the opportunities from digital productivity.

Other Australian speakers presenting at the seminar include: 

  • Dr Matthew Butlin, Chair, Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission; 
  • Nicholas Gruen, CEO of Lateral Economics; 
  • Dr Terry Cutler FTSE FAHA, Principal of Cutler & Co, Deputy Chair, CSIRO and chair of the Australian Government’s 2008 Review of the National Innovation System; 
  • Deena Shiff, Group MD, Applications and Ventures Group, Telstra;
  • Lance Hockridge, MD and CEO of Queensland National; 
  • Patricia Kelly, Deputy Secretary, Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. 

The seminar will be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre on Friday 11 November 2011 from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Register through the ATSE website.

Image: Dr Atkinson, courtesy of


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