Engagement and collaboration for a smart economy

Professor Guy Littlefair, Dean of Engineering in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment at Deakin University, was a guest speaker at the Manufacturers Pavilion at Austech 2015. The event was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in May, in conjunction with National Manufacturing Week.

 The title of Professor Littlefair’s presentation was ‘The role of universities in the advancement of manufacturing and design as a feature of the future Australian economy’. The key message was to encourage more engagement and collaboration between industry and universities in order to produce more innovative smart products and create better intellectual property.

With the current climate calling for a transformation from a commodity economy to a smart economy and for improving Australia’s competitiveness in global markets, Professor Littlefair said universities should be playing more of a leading role. To meet these opportunities and challenges, he believes universities and industry have to work together more directly to develop, create, invent and design smart products and technologies.

In this proposition, Professor Littlefair suggested that universities should form the R&D hub for industry of all sectors: food processing, agriculture biotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, material processing, medical, pharmaceutical and sports technology.

Moreover, universities hold an enormous amount of applied knowledge and technologies that can be transferred to industry. This knowledge transformation process can be supplemented by access to cutting edge resources and facilities, such as higher analytical tools and methods, testing instrumentations, and simulation systems. Having these resources in hand will assist the development of smarter products, solid intellectual property and longer shelf life/sustainability in the market.

In his conclusion, Professor Littlefair discussed his recently developed “sustainable business triangle model” of the nexus between Industrial Technology, Industrial Engineering and Industrial Design and the need for all three of these disciplines to be connected in order to have smarter products and technology and help secure a sustainable economy for Australia. He observed that currently Australia is very good in Industrial Technology but more limited in Industrial Engineering, with more focus being required to strengthen the Industrial Design component in the Australian market.

Featured Events

AAEE Networking Event - RMIT 13th March

Please join us for the first AAEE networking event for Victoria in 2019. A brief presentation and panel session will be followed by networking. This is a great opportunity to learn more about engineering education activity in Victoria, and to meet researchers specializing in this research area.

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AAEE Networking Event - 22nd Feb

Friday 22nd February, 2019


At UTS CB10.03.460

Early Career Academy members will form a panel to discuss difficulties for early career academics and identify the ways that the AAEE community might be able to better support academics. Please come along and contribute, network, and support our early career AAEEians. Refreshments will be provided.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 18th February, 2019.



24-28 JUNE 2019

The AAEE Winter School is an immersive experience that brings together engineering education researchers. Attendees will learn about:

  • Designing and undertaking effective education research projects
  • Evaluating teaching and curriculum
  • Positioning evaluation and research activities in light of current trends
  • Appreciating and responding to national and local grant opportunities
  • Building collaborative research partnerships across Austra­lia and beyond Read more ...

    AAEE Networking Lunch – Melbourne 16th July

    AAEE is hosting a networking lunch for members and prospective members at the Swinburne University Engineering Practice Academy. Come and join the AAEE executive committee and members of the Academy of Early Career Engineering Educators for a free lunch and plenty of interesting conversation.

    Date: Monday 16th July, 2018

    Time: 12.30-2.30pm

    Venue: Engineering Practice Academy, Swinburne University of Technology

    58-68 Park St, Hawthorn VIC 3122, TC201

    RSVP and Dietary requirements by 12th July to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.