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Enabling Technologies for Australlian Innovative Industries, 2005

Enabling Technologies for Australlian Innovative Industries, 2005


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Published by: i-people on Mar 31, 2008
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The expectation that nanotechnology will underpin many future developments across most
industries has important implications for skills development across the whole education

Science teaching must incorporate the broad brush of tools required for this convergent
technology. Students will need a strong understanding of fundamental sciences such as
physics, chemistry, biology, information technology but importantly must also appreciate the
cross disciplinary applications that underpin nanotechnology.

At the tertiary level, this need is being addressed by some universities through specific
nanotechnology degrees and courses. For example, undergraduate and postgraduate
nanotechnology courses are either on offer already or planned for universities such as Flinders
University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney, the
University of Queensland, RMIT University, University of Wollongong, the University of
Western Sydney, Deakin University, University of Western Australia and Monash University.
These courses are demonstrating varying success in attracting students. Perhaps a more
successful approach will be the integration of science courses which underpin nanotechnology
in a way that enables students to appreciate the cross disciplinary nature of nanotechnology.

In terms of vocational training, there are limited opportunities for training to provide specific
skills in support of nanotechnology within the Technical and Further Education system in
Australia. The Australian Government has commissioned an industry-led Emerging
Technologies Taskforce to facilitate and expedite activities to: identify industry and
individual skill needs of the industries using emerging technologies including


nanotechnology; develop appropriate training products and services; and increase provision of
training/skilling opportunities and promote their uptake. The taskforce is due to provide an
interim report at the end of March 2005 and a final report in July 2005.

The challenges for nanotechnology at the secondary school level reflect the deficiencies
apparent across the whole of science training and should be addressed in this context.
Because of its cutting-edge and topical nature, nanotechnology offers schools a tool with
which to promote science as an exciting career opportunity for students.

In summary, the development of a substantial Australian skills base in nanotechnology is of
fundamental importance. The requirement for this skills base will continue to grow over the
next 10 to 15 years.

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