Government assembles innovation experts forum

Twenty-one Australian experts will put new technologies under the microscope and present their findings to the Gillard Labor Government as part of the $38.2 million National Enabling Technologies Strategy. The eight-member Expert Forum and 13-member Stakeholder Advisory Council was announced by Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr. Senator Carr said it is important that the Australian community understands new technologies and are confident in their use.

“New technologies will bring us new industries, export opportunities and jobs. They also have the potential to provide breakthrough medicines, faster computers and purer water,” Senator Carr said.

“We must not forget that with all new technologies, there may be unknown risks. These experts will help us understand any risks and ensure they are managed appropriately.

“The Stakeholder Advisory Council brings together key Australian business, union, non-government, industry, science and research representatives who will use their expertise to advise the government on the full range of enabling technologies.

“The Expert Forum includes technology specialists, researchers and industry representatives who will identify new and converging technologies and highlight any potential implications for Australia.

“I am confident that with the support of the experts, the government can effectively implement the National Enabling Technologies Strategy and ensure the benefits of new technologies can flow to the community.“

The forum will be chaired by Professor Ron Johnston, the founder and executive director of the Australian Centre for Innovation. He pioneered the development and application of foresight in Australia by leading the highly cited major national study Matching Science and Technology to Future Needs. The group also includes University of Queensland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials Director of Research, Professor Max Lu. Professor Lu’s research expertise is in nanoparticles and nanoporous materials for clean energy and environmental technologies.

The National Enabling Technologies Strategy seeks to provide a framework for the responsible development of enabling technologies.