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BHERT Member & Collaboration News - April 2019


Record Interest for 2019 BHERT Awards (Open until Tuesday April 16th, COB)

BHERT is delighted to announce that demand for the BHERT Awards – the premier recognition of industry university and university-community partnerships in Australia – is at record levels.

The call for Expressions of Interest for the 2019 BHERT Awards will close April 16th. BHERT is accepting one-page applications addressing specific criteria about collaborative projects. Award categories for 2019 are:

  • Outstanding Collaboration in Research and Development
  • Outstanding Collaboration in Higher Education and Training
  • Outstanding Collaboration for National Benefit
  • Outstanding Collaboration in Community Engagement
  • The Ashley Goldsworthy Award for Individual Leadership in Collaboration

BHERT has received applications so far from all Australian states, encompassing city and regional universities, with a broad range of industry and community partners. Projects registered so far include outstanding collaborations in diverse fields such as health and medicine, cyber and digital technologies, transport and infrastructure, construction technologies and management, disaster management, law, agriculture and a range of social issues.

There is no limit to the number of Expressions of Interest a company, organisation, or university can submit. Alert your colleagues, and good luck! BHERT is also happy to discuss applications by email (

View the 2019 BHERT Guidelines and learn more about the application process.


BHERT's Priorities: Australia's 2019 Federal Election

Australia’s Election on 18 May 2019 is an opportunity for a new Government to make important changes to support industry-university collaboration, at a critical time for the nation. As the peak body representing both business and university communities, BHERT calls for the following aspects to be considered by the parties:

Graduate employment

With the gap between graduate capabilities and employer expectations widening in many professions, Australian university graduates are facing longer transition times into full-time employment. The Government can play a key role by increasing the requirement for industry placements (Work-Integrated-Learning) to be a part of most or all university degrees. Currently around 1/3 of Australian students undertake placements; BHERT proposes that, like Canada, Australia aspires for all students to have work placements as part of their degree. Read the article: Time to make WIL a priority: the opportunity for Australian universities and companies - and the new Government

Commercialisation of R&D

The Government’s promotion of an innovative economy has been a welcome direction over the last 3 years, but momentum has stalled. BHERT is encouraged that all major parties see new business creation and growth of export-oriented industries as vital to economic growth, and supports investments and initiatives in this domain. BHERT urges the new Government to adopt the Innovation and Science Australia recommendations presented in 2018. Read the BHERT review: Innovation and Science Australia: Prosperity Through Innovation 2030

Emerging Work Skills

For Australian industries, continued competitiveness requires access to employees with modern skills. As highlighted in reports by FYA, Deloitte, and AlphaBeta, graduate skills must encompass new capabilities such as problem solving, critical thinking, and verbal communication and interpersonal skills. BHERT calls upon the new Government to develop strategies to support the nationwide development of these skills in our graduating workforces.


AASQA Feature in Forge Magazine and New Patron Announced

2018 Winner of the BHERT Award for Outstanding Collaboration for National Benefit, Professor Tele Tan of Curtin University’s Autism Academy, has been profiled in this month’s Forge Magazine. Read the full article: The Autism Academy: Universities and Companies finding New Opportunities for Special Talents

The project continues to grow in scope and recognition, with The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, recently announced as Patron. Read the Press Release: WA Governor named Patron of Curtin's Autism Academy


Jason Bamert, National Lead for Education, Optus, joins BHERT Board

Singtel Optus' National Lead for Education, Mr Jason Bamert, has joined the BHERT Board. Mr Bamert replaces out-going General Manager of Optus Business, John Paitaridis. BHERT welcomes Jason, whose expertise centres on transforming educational institutes with digital means to augment existing processes and practices for more relevance across industry, government and communities in the global economy. Read Jason Bamert's bio.

Professor Deborah Terry AO to chair Universities Australia

Curtin University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry, who recently joined the BHERT Board of Directors (February 2019), has been elected to chair Universities Australia. Professor Terry has a long career dedicating herself to education and the tertiary sector, previously holding roles as Chair of the Australian Council of Learned Academies, member of the Academic and Research Network board, and President of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. She has served as Deputy Chair of Universities Australia since 2015. Professor Terry will succeed Monash University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gardner, as Chair of Universities Australia in May 2019. Read Professor Terry’s bio.


Optus Business – On Fourth Revolution and Collaboration

BHERT Member, Optus Business, has released its third report in the Enterprise series, a study that investigates how Australian companies need to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The report “Bridging Australia’s Knowledge Economy Gap in Industry 4.0”, examines the necessity for new corporate cultures and skills to equip businesses for enhanced cyber security, adaptiveness to AI and employment of IoT and big data technologies.

The report identifies major gaps in Australian companies:

  • Cultural: management does not support risk-taking, collaborations or digital practices
  • Capability: an estimated 200,000 technological experts are needed by 2030 for Australia to compete globally with digital innovations
  • Operational: technologies that enhance processes and fill talent gaps are not used sufficiently

The report highlights the urgency for companies to form stronger collaborative partnerships between industry, government and academia. Optus Business has formed its own collaborations with 3 BHERT Members:

  • Curtin University: an AI research group in the University’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences has been jointly established
  • Macquarie University: a collaboratively run Cyber Security Hub supports businesses and government from the threats of cyber attacks
  • La Trobe University: An Optus/ La Trobe strategic alliance is designing an integrated, digitally connected campus, a state-of-the-art Sports Precinct of the Future and a Cyber Security degree.

To learn more about the research findings, see the White Report: Mind the gap: re-skilling to perform in Industry 4.0


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