Innovation Week 2017

supporting early entrepreneurship and innovation

Innovation Week 2017 fosters an innovation culture

On Monday 13th November, Innovation Week 2017 was officially launched in at the Royal Society of Victoria in Melbourne by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel on behalf of the Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Michaelia Cash MP, who welcomed the launch of Innovation Week 2017 – a national celebration of STEMM research, innovation, startups and entrepreneurship in Australia. Innovation Week is an initiative of the Australian Science and Innovation Forum (ASIF) with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) that fosters innovation and collaboration.

A major theme dominating the week and featured at the launch event hosted by BioMelbourne Network and the Royal Society of Victoria, was “The Future of Healthcare is Digital“. BioMelbourne Network CEO Dr Krystal Evans and ATSE CEO Dr Margaret Hartley welcomed over 120 registrants to hear esteemed speakers such as Dr Alan Finkel (Australia’s Chief Scientist), Dr Charlie Day (CEO, Office of Innovation and Science Australia), Ms Bronwyn Le Grice (Co-Founder and Managing Director, ANDHealth), Dr Dean Freestone (Co-Founder and Managing Director, Seer Medical and Mr Sanji Kanagalingam (Director, Curve Tomorrow).

Skills, Careers and Networking

A series of panel fora and networking events took place over the week in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, engaging a diverse audience from industry, academia and start-ups, particularly those with an interest in health innovation and related STEMM professions. Events included the RACI Bioactive Discovery and Development Dinner, veski Kickstart, The Business Case for IoT and Pitching a Startup: Preparation – Not Perspiration.

ATSE’s Industry Mentoring Network in STEM held two partner events focussed on STEM Careers in Industry with Engineers Australia in Perth and with the Royal Society of Victoria in Melbourne. STEM professionals in with extensive experience in different parts of the industry sector shared with PhD students their professional journey and ways they apply their STEM training to lead and excel in a range of rewarding roles.

Innovating with Patients

In Sydney, the Innovation Week event “Innovating with Patients: Opportunities for STEM professionals in the new model of biomedical innovation” was co-chaired by Dr Mel Thomson (General Manager of Education, Skills and Events at MTPConnect) and Dr Martin Rees (Medical Science Liaison with Shire). The panel and audience contributed very personal stories and insights on how high-tech digital health applications can make material impacts on the outcomes of those going through treatment by being closely molded to very human needs and concerns, including issues of patient trust. As Mel pointed out on the night “we are all patients” – we all have a stake in this!

IW2017 Sydney

Networking after the Innovating with Patients panel discussion in Sydney

The next generation of STEM leaders

The Innovation Week spotlight was also on the next generation of STEM leaders, disruptors, changemakers and innovators with the 5th BrainSTEM Innovation Challenge. High school students took the podium to share their exciting and innovative projects they have led under the mentorship of Scientist, Engineers and Designers at Swinburne University. The Keynote speaker for this event was Michelle Gallaher, recipient of the 2017 Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year and the Entrepreneur Award at the 2017 Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Awards. BrainSTEM first launched during Innovation Week 2015.

Engaging Online

Many followed and joined in the conversation online under the hashtag #InnovationWk with @asiforum on Twitter and several LinkedIn posts by Dr Krystal EvansDr Marguerite Evans-GaleaTiffany Knezevic and Glenn Carter capturing key takeaways from the discussions.

Importantly, the positive feedback on our networking sessions stands out as a major success: lots of new connections were made across the innovation ecosystem (industry, start-ups and academia), an outcome that is central to ASIF’s mission. The new Co-Chairs Dr Martin Rees and Dr Lauren Giorgio are keen to see Innovation Week 2018 bigger and better than ever!


Innovation Week 2017 was convened by the Australian Science and Innovation Forum (ASIF) chaired by Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea.

Supported by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.


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