The Trusted Networks Lab at QUT will focus on skills shortages in emerging technology industries with $836,000 for new research scholarships in blockchain, machine learning and the internet of things (IoT), backed by industry and the CSIRO Data 61 Next Generation Graduates Program.
CSIRO granted $521,417 towards the ’Trusted Automation for Industrial Internet of Things’ program with a further $315,000 commitment from five industry partners for 10 student positions.
Students will work in multidisciplinary groups with industry and research leaders to solve real-world challenges proposed by program partners.
A Supra Oracles project will focus on improving the blockchain technology, while Automi, Olam, Interport Cargo Services, Queensland Cotton, and Xiippy projects will focus on emerging technology applications to manufacturing, food supply chain, retail, and transport and logistics.
QUT Chair in Applied Data Sciences and distributed systems expert, Professor Raja Jurdak from the Faculty of Science will lead the program in collaboration with the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
“Adopting emerging technologies such as machine learning, internet of things, AI and blockchain could significantly increase Australian companies’ productivity and competitiveness,” Professor Jurdak said.
“Sensors in emerging technologies are collecting more data and through machine learning that is leading to greater automation.
“But, as industries want to send data back and forth between different companies, they need a trusted medium, and that is where blockchain comes in.
“Several industries already look to transform their industry by recruiting skilled professionals, however, the skill shortage in these domains impedes the transformation process, impacting innovation, transformation, and growth.
“Our program will train the next generation graduates in trusted automation for industrial Internet of Things through a close partnership between industry and academia.”
Professor Salil Kanhere from UNSW indicated that “This program will allow us to establish long-lasting partnerships between QUT, UNSW, CSIRO and our industry partners and open up opportunities for knowledge exchange and technology transfer that will ultimately boost the Australian economy”.
Professor Jurdak, who is also Director of the Trusted Networks Lab, said the program expects to commence recruitment in July for PhD, MPhil, and Honors students at QUT and UNSW.
Supervisors will include Professor Jurdak and Dr Gowri Ramachandran from the Trusted Networks Lab and the QUT School of Computer Science, Professor Alistair Barros from the QUT School of Information Systems, and Professor Sagadevan Mundree from the QUT Centre for Agriculture and Biocommodities.
The CSIRO announced the QUT-UNSW program among its first 12 Next Generation AI and Emerging Technologies Graduates Programs, stating the $10.4 million contribution from CSIRO combined with $5.8 million from industry and university partners would co-fund 165 student scholarships. Details on the successful grants on the Emerging Technologies Graduates Program can be found here.
It estimated that to realise benefits expected to be worth AU$22.17 trillion to the global economy, Australian industry would need up to 161,000 new artificial intelligence (AI) specialist or AI savvy workers by 2030.
The QUT media release is available here.