On Friday 2nd November, the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews, MP formally launched the Careers with STEM: Code magazine fifth anniversary edition.
Attending Palm Beach Currumbin State High School in Queensland, Heather Catchpole, Head of Content at Refraction Media lead a panel discussion on the state of future careers and the necessity of STEM skills for tomorrow’s workforce.
“We started Careers with STEM in 2014 in response to an industry need for skilled graduates for the future of work,” says Catchpole.
“Since then we’ve profiled more than 250 people’s paths into STEM careers, reached 250,000 people through our digital platforms and sent 1.25 million magazines to students in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.”
Joining Minister Andrews on the panel was Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community and Outreach Manager for Google Australia, Sharon Collins, Head of Future Talent Strategy, Community and Inclusion at Commonwealth Bank, and Jennifer May, Graduate Engineer at Commonwealth Bank and cover star of Careers with STEM: Engineering 2018.
Careers with STEM: Code magazine is one of four annual magazines in the Careers with STEM series produced by Refraction Media. The magazines provide educators, students and parents with employer insights, industry trends, career pathways and inspiring and diverse role models who share their STEM journey.
“By combining skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) with students’ ‘X’ – their interests, goals and another field, we’re connecting with the students who traditionally might not have seen themselves in a STEM role,” says Catchpole.
Currently, there are 300,000 vacancies in global cybersecurity careers, and it’s expected that we will require 200,000 ICT jobs filled in the next five years in Australia alone. Despite this growing demand, there are fewer than 5000 Australian ICT graduates per year. The latest issue of Code magazine explores opportunities within the fast-growing careers of the entire tech industry, with a bonus flip-issue of Careers with STEM: Cybersecurity.
Since the launch of Careers with STEM: Code magazine 5 years ago, Refraction Media has distributed over 1.25 million copies – for free – to Australian, New Zealand and American high schools.
Minister Andrews’ launch of the latest magazine will celebrate a nationwide delivery of 225,000 copies to 3000 high schools around Australia.
On September 8, 70 days after the end of the financial year, Australia marked equal pay day. The time gap is significant as it marks the average additional time it takes for women to work to get the same wages as men.
Optimistically, we’d think this day should slowly move back towards June 30. And there are many reasons for optimism, as our panel of thought leaders point out in our online roundtable of industry, research and government leaders.
Yet celebrating a lessening in inequity is a feel-good exercise we cannot afford to over-indulge in.
While we mark achievements towards improving pipelines to leadership roles, work to increase enrolments of girls in STEM subjects at schools and reverse discrimination at many levels of decision making and representation, the reality is that many of these issues are only just being recognised. Many more are in dire need of being addressed more aggressively.
Direct discrimination against women and girls is something I hear about from mentors, friends and colleagues. It is prevalent and wide-reaching. There is much more we can do to address issues of diversity across STEM areas.
Enrolments of women in STEM degrees vary from 16% in computer science and engineering to 45% in science and 56% in medicine. These figures reinforce that we are teaching the next generation with the vestiges of an education system developed largely by men and for boys. There is a unique opportunity to change this.
Interdisciplinary skills are key to innovation. Millennials today will change career paths more frequently; digital technologies will disrupt traditional career areas. By communicating that STEM skills are an essential foundation that can be combined with your interest, goals or another field, we can directly tap into the next generation. We can prepare them to be agile workers across careers, and bring to the table their skills in STEM along with experiences in business, corporates, art, law and other areas. In this utopian future, career breaks are opportunities to learn and to demonstrate skills in new areas. Part-time work isn’t seen as ‘leaning out’.
We have an opportunity to redefine education in STEM subjects, to improve employability for our graduates, to create stronger, clearer paths to leadership roles, and to redefine why and how we study STEM subjects right from early primary through to tertiary levels.
By combining STEM with X, we are opening up the field to the careers that haven’t been invented yet. As career areas shift, we have the opportunity to unleash a vast trained workforce skilled to adapt, to transition across fields, to work flexibly and remotely.
We need to push this STEM + X agenda right to early education, promoting the study of different fields together, and creating an early understanding of the different needs that different areas require.
This is what drives me to communicate science and STEM through publications such as Careers with Science, Engineering and Code. We want to convey that there are exciting career pathways through studying STEM. But we don’t know what those pathways are – that’s up to them.
Just think how many app developers there were ten year ago – how many UX designers. In 10 or even five years, we can’t predict what the rapidly growing career areas will be. But we can create a STEM aware section of the population and by doing so now, we can ensure that the next generation has an edge in creating and redefining the careers of the future.
“We can rebuild him. We have the technology.”
– The Six Million Dollar Man, 1973
Science is catching up to science fiction. Last year a paralysed man walked again after cell treatment bridged a gap in his spinal cord. Dozens of people have had bionic eyes implanted, and it may also be possible to augment them to see into the infra-red or ultra-violet. Amputees can control bionic limb implant with thoughts alone.
We are witnessing a reshaping of the clinical landscape wrought by the tools of technology. The transition is giving rise to a new breed of engineer, one trained to bridge the gap between engineering on one side and biology on the other.
Enter the “biofabricator”. This is a role that melds technical skills in materials, mechatronics and biology with the clinical sciences.
21st century career
If you need a new body part, it’s the role of the biofabricator to build it for you. The concepts are new, the technology is groundbreaking. And the job description? It’s still being written.
It is a vocation that’s already taking off in the US though. In 2012, Forbes rated biomedical engineering (equivalent to biofabricator) number one on its list of the 15 most valuable college majors. The following year, CNN and payscale.com called it the “best job in America”.
These conclusions were based on things like salary, job satisfaction and job prospects, with the US Bureau of Labour Statistics projecting a massive growth in the number of biomedical engineering jobs over the next ten years.
Meanwhile, Australia is blazing its own trail. As the birthplace of the multi-channel Cochlear implant, Australia already boasts a worldwide reputation in biomedical implants. Recent clinical breakthroughs with an implanted titanium heel and jawbone reinforce Australia’s status as a leader in the field.
I’ve recently helped establish the world’s first international Masters courses for biofabrication, ready to arm the next generation of biofabricators with the diverse array of skills needed to 3D print parts for bodies.
These skills go beyond the technical; the job also requires the ability to communicate with regulators and work alongside clinicians. The emerging industry is challenging existing business models.
Life as a biofabricator
Day to day, the biofabricator is a vital cog in the research machine. They work with clinicians to create a solution to clinical needs, and with biologists, materials and mechatronic engineers to deliver them.
Biofabricators are naturally versatile. They are able to discuss clinical needs pre-dawn, device physics with an electrical engineer in the morning, stem cell differentiation with a biologist in the afternoon and a potential financier in the evening. Not to mention remaining conscious of regulatory matters and social engagement.
Our research at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) is only made possible through the work of a talented team of biofabricators. They help with the conduits we are building to regrow severed nerves, to the electrical implant designed to sense an imminent epileptic seizure and stop it before it occurs, to the 3D printed cartilage and bone implants fashioned to be a perfect fit at the site of injury.
As the interdisciplinary network takes shape, we see more applications every week. Researchers have only scratched the surface of what is possible for wearable or implanted sensors to keep tabs on an outpatient’s vitals and beam them back to the doctor.
Meanwhile, stem cell technology is developing rapidly. Developing the cells into tissues and organs will require prearrangement of cells in appropriate 3D environments and custom designed bioreactors mimicking the dynamic environment inside the body.
Imagine the ability to arrange stem cells in 3D surrounded by other supporting cells and with growth factors distributed with exquisite precision throughout the structure, and to systematically probe the effect of those arrangements on biological processes. Well, it can already be done.
Those versed in 3D bioprinting will enable these fundamental explorations.
Besides academic research, biofabricators will also be invaluable to medical device companies in designing new products and treatments. Those engineers with an entrepreneurial spark will look to start spin-out companies of their own. The more traditional manufacturing business model will not cut it.
As 3D printing evolves, it is becoming obvious that we will require dedicated printing systems for particular clinical applications. The printer in the surgery for cartilage regeneration will be specifically engineered for the task at hand, with only critical variables built into a robust and reliable machine.
Appropriately trained individuals will also find roles in the public service, ideally in regulatory bodies or community engagement.
For this job of tomorrow, we must train today and new opportunities are emerging biofab-masters-degree. We must cut across the traditional academic boundaries that slow down such advances. We must engage with the community of traditional manufacturers that have skills that can be built upon for next generation industries.
Australia is also well placed to capitalise on these emerging industries. We have a traditional manufacturing sector that is currently in flux, an extensive advanced materials knowledge base built over decades, a dynamic additive fabrication skills base and a growing alternative business model environment.
– Gordon Wallace & Cathal D. O’Connell
This article was first published by The Conversation on 31 August 2015. Read the original article here.
This article is part of The Conversation’s series on the Science and Research Priorities recently announced by the Federal Government. You can read the introduction to the series by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, here.
Chief Defence Scientist, Defence Science and Technology
The national science and research priorities have been developed with the goal of maximising the national benefit from research expenditure, while strengthening our capacity to excel in science and technology.
Cybersecurity has been identified as a research priority due to Australia’s increasing dependence on cyberspace for national well-being and security. Cyberspace underpins both commercial and government business; it is globally accessible, has no national boundaries and is vulnerable to malicious exploitation by individuals, organised groups and state actors.
Cybersecurity requires application of research to anticipate vulnerabilities, strengthen cyber systems to ward off attacks, and enhance national capability to respond to, recover from, and continue to operate in the face of a cyber-attack.
Cyberspace is a complex, rapidly changing environment that is progressed and shaped by technology and by how the global community adopts, adapts and uses this technology. Success in cyberspace will depend upon our ability to “stay ahead of the curve”.
Research will support the development of new capability to strengthen the information and communications systems in our utilities, business and government agencies against attack or damage. Investment will deliver cybersecurity enhancements, infrastructure for prototype assessment and a technologically skilled workforce.
Accordingly, priority should be given to research that will lead to:
Highly secure and resilient communications and data acquisition, storage, retention and analysis for government, defence, business, transport systems, emergency and health services
Secure, trustworthy and fault-tolerant technologies for software applications, mobile devices, cloud computing and critical infrastructure
Director of the Centre for Crime Policy and Research, Flinders University
Sensible science and research on cybersecurity must be premised upon informed, rather than speculative, “what if”, analysis. Researchers should not be beholden to institutional self-interest from whichever sector: government; business; universities; or security/defence agencies.
We need to be clear about what the cybersecurity threat landscape looks like. It is a variable terrain. Terms such as “cyber-terrorism” tend to get used loosely and given meanings as diverse as the Stuxnet attack and the use of the internet by disenchanted converts to learn how to build a pipe bomb.
References to “warfare” can be misleading. A lot of what we face is not “war” but espionage, crime and political protest. More than two decades into the lifecycle of the internet, we have not yet had an electronic Pearl Harbour event.
Cybersecurity depends upon human and social factors, not just technical defences. We need to know our “enemies” as well as ourselves better, in addition to addressing technical vulnerabilities.
We should be sceptical about magic bullet solutions of any kind. Good defences and secure environments depend upon cooperation across units, a degree of decentralisation, and built-in redundancy.
Director, Security Business Team at NICTA
Cybersecurity is an essential underpinning to success in our modern economies.
It’s a complex area and there are no magic bullet solutions: success requires a range of approaches. The national research priorities for cybersecurity highlight key areas of need and opportunity.
The technologies we depend on in cyberspace are often not worthy of our trust. Securing them appropriately is complex and often creates friction for users and processes. Creation of secure, trustworthy and fault-tolerant technologies – security by design – can remove or reduce security friction, improving overall security posture.
Australia has some key capabilities in this area, including cross-disciplinary efforts.
The ability to detect and monitor vulnerabilities and intrusions and to recover from failure is critical, yet industry reports indicate that the average time to detect malicious or criminal attack is around six months. New approaches are needed, including improved technological approaches as well as collaboration and information sharing.
Success in translating research outcomes to application – for local needs and for export – will be greater if we are also able to create an ecosystem of collaboration and information sharing, especially in the fast-moving cybersecurity landscape.
Director, Advanced Cyber Security Research Centre at Macquarie University
Cyberspace is transforming the way we live and do business. Securing cyberspace from attacks has become a critical need in the 21st century to enable people, enterprises and governments to interact and conduct their business. Cybersecurity is a key enabling technology affecting every part of the information-based society and economy.
The key technological challenges in cybersecurity arise from increased security attacks and threat velocity, securing large scale distributed systems, especially “systems of systems”, large scale secure and trusted data driven decision making, secure ubiquitous computing and pervasive networking and global participation.
In particular, numerous challenges and opportunities exist in the emerging areas of cloud computing, Internet of Things and Big Data. New services and technologies of the future are emerging and likely to emerge in the future in the intersection of these areas. Security, privacy and trust are critical for these new technologies and services.
For Australia to be a leader, it is in these strategic areas of cybersecurity that it needs to invest in research and development leading to new secure, trusted and dependable technologies and services as well as building capacity and skills and thought leadership in cybersecurity of the future.
Director of Security Research Institute at Edith Cowan University
ICT is in every supply chain or critical infrastructure we now run for our existence on the planet. The removal or sustained disruption of ICT as a result of lax cybersecurity is something we can no longer overlook or ignore.
The edge between cyberspace and our physical world is blurring with destructive attacks on physical infrastructure already occurring. The notion of the nation state, and its powers and its abilities to cope with these disruptions, are also significantly being challenged.
The ransacking of countries’ intellectual property by cyber-enabled actors is continuing unabated, robbing us of our collective futures. These are some of the strong indicators that currently we are getting it largely wrong in addressing cybersecurity issues. We cannot persist in developing linear solutions to network/neural security issues presented to us by cyberspace. We need change.
The asymmetry of cyberspace allows a relatively small nation state to have significant advantage in cybersecurity, Israel being one strong example. Australia could be the next nation, but not without significant, serious, long-term, collaborative investments by government, industry, academy and community in growing the necessary human capital. This initiative is hopefully the epoch of that journey.
Professor of Computing and Information Systems, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Collaboration and Infrastructure) at University of Melbourne
There are more than two million actively trading businesses in Australia and more than 95% have fewer than 20 employees. Such businesses surely have no need for full-time cybersecurity workers, but all must have someone responsible to make decisions about which IT and security products and services to acquire.
At least historically, new technologies have been developed and deployed without sufficient attention to the security implications. So bad actors have found ways to exploit the resulting vulnerabilities.
More research into software design and development from a security perspective, and research into better tools for security alerts and detection is essential. But such techniques will never be perfect. Research is also needed into ways of better supporting human cyberanalysts – those who work with massive data flows to identify anomalies and intrusions.
New techniques are needed to enable the separation of relevant from irrelevant data about seemingly unconnected events, and to integrate perspectives from multiple experts. Improving technological assistance for humans requires a deep understanding of human cognition in the complex, mutable and ephemeral environment of cyberspace.
The cybersecurity research agenda is thus only partly a technical matter: disciplines such as decision sciences, organisational behaviour and international law all must play a part.
Professor of Physics and Program Manager at the Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology at UNSW
Cybersecurity is essential for our future in a society that needs to safeguard information as much as possible for secure banking, safe transportation, and protected power grids.
Quantum information technology will transform data communication and processing. Here, quantum physics is exploited for new technologies to protect, transmit and process information. Classical cryptography relies on mathematically hard problems such as factoring which are so difficult to solve that classical computers can take decades. Quantum information technology allows for an alternative approach to this problem that will lead to a solution on a meaningful timescale, such as minutes in contrast to years. Quantum information technology allows for secure encoding and decoding governed by fundamental physics which is inherently unbreakable, not just hard to break.
Internationally, quantum information is taking off rapidly underlined by large government initiatives. At the same time there are commercial investments from companies such as Google, IBM, Microsoft and Lockheed Martin.
Due to long term strategic investments in leading academic groups Australia remains at the forefront globally and enjoys a national competitive advantage in quantum computing and cybersecurity. We should utilise the fact that Australia is a world leader and global player in quantum information science to provide many new high technology industries for its future.
With the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games looming in 2018, a key concern for athletes will be how to prevent illness from interfering with their training and performance.
This is the focus of new research at Griffith University. Partnering with the Australian Institute of Sport to examine the effects of exercise on the immune system in order to help athletes compete at their best, the research team say that illness during competition can destroy years of effort and dedication.
“On average, highly trained athletes spend 8 to 12 years training to compete at their best,” says Professor David Pyne from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ).
“Given the time, effort and financial considerations made by athletes, their coaches and support staff, there is a need to find ways to keep athletes healthy during heavy training, travel and competition.”
Susceptibility to illness
Professor Allan Cripps, a leading immunology researcher at MHIQ has worked with Pyne and Dr Nic West in a bid to understand why athletes seem prone to illness during heavy training and competition.
“There is evidence that endurance exercise compromises immune function and increases illness in some athletes,” says West. “Intensive exercise, particularly endurance exercise, such as triathlon, long distance swimming and ironman events, can be associated with exercise-induced immune suppression where the number and function of immune cells is decreased and their ability to respond to challenge is lowered.”
For the current study the research team is seeking highly trained male triathletes and iron men between the ages of 18-35 years who undertake 12 hours or more exercise per week.
Athletes will have their immune, gut microbiota and metabolic systems profiled and compared with non-athletes.
A significant benefit of the study is that participants will receive information regarding the status of their own immune function that can be used to tailor individual training programs.
The study is taking place at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus.
“We hope that participation and knowledge gained from this study will help elite and non-elite athletes to attain their performance goals,” says Pyne.
THE WAY WE DESIGN BUILD AND MANAGE our urban spaces is undergoing a transformation that’s almost unprecedented in scope. We’re reimagining our cities and urban precincts in the face of changing climate, energy and security issues and a growing appreciation for sustainability principles. Individuals and organisations from a broad range of disciplines will need to play a role.
Dr Deo Prasad, the CEO of the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) and a Professor of Sustainable Development at the UNSW Faculty of Built Environment, personifies this multidisciplinary approach. Originally trained as an architect, Prasad obtained a master’s degree in science and program management and completed a PhD in thermal heat transfer in buildings.
The CRCLCL is a $48 million centre, announced in November 2011, of which the Commonwealth contribution is $28 million over seven years. The centre brings together property developers, planners, engineers and policy organisations with Australian researchers with an overarching aim of reducing carbon emissions by 10 megatonnes in the next five years – the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road each year. The CRCLCL research will bring about $680 million worth of benefits to the Australian economy over 15 years.
“Our focus is on enabling Australian industries and particularly small to medium enterprises to benefit from the new products, technologies, tools and systems. We’re trying to ensure the built environment sector can capture the benefits from going low carbon,” says Prasad.
Malay Dave, a PhD candidate at the CRCLCL and UNSW Australia Built Environment, is researching sustainable prefabricated or modular housing, with an end goal of developing a framework for “whole-systems design”. This approach considers the house as an energy system with interdependent parts, each of which affects the performance of the entire system.
“The need for housing that is both sustainable and affordable is a major issue globally,” he says. “Prefabrication, or off-site construction, offers huge opportunities in delivering environmental sustainability and economic affordability in buildings.”
Dave has a $95,000 scholarship funded by the CRC, which offers $30,000 per year stipends with a total of 88 scholarships available for the current funding period of seven years.
The CRCLCL is also working in parallel with the CRC for Polymers (CRC-P) to coat building cladding materials such as steel or glass with the next generation of solar cells – enabling light energy capture and distribution throughout a building.
Researchers at the CRC-P are in the process of developing these advanced materials for the next generation of solar cells for which the CRCLCL is investigating large-scale commercial applications (see page 7).
CEO Dr Ian Dagley says the CRC-P has a philosophy of putting postgraduate students on the most groundbreaking projects. “We want them to be doing work of high academic interest using state-of-the-art materials and techniques so they can publish in high-profile international journals,” he says. With two-and-a-half years of funding remaining, the CRC-P has filled all its 11 postgrad scholarships to the value of $1,060,000.
Other projects at the CRCLCL include researching innovative building materials such as concrete with reduced embodied carbon. They are also developing tools and collating data to measure the impact of urban developments in terms of water, waste, energy and materials.
The CRCLCL also collaborates with the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities for this, “developing design ‘charrettes’ [intense design workshops] to ensure development goals for water and carbon aspirations are well-established,” explains Prasad.
The third main CRCLCL research program involves community engagement. “Technology or design in itself won’t fix the problem,” says Prasad. “We need to look at what resonates with communities – why they take up certain initiatives and not others.”