The future is always on our minds – but especially as we bring you this first instalment of HIGHER ED.ITION for 2018.
In a world being transformed at speed, we rely on quality thinking to anticipate – and stay ahead of – seismic shifts across our economies and societies.
That's why, in this bumper post-conference edition, we've brought together ideas from some of the world's best thinkers on the future of work, education, research, global trade and diplomacy.
The future of access to university education – and the sector's call to keep open the doors of opportunity for Australians – was a central theme in our Chair's recent National Press Club address.
And the future of university partnerships is front and centre in UA's latest publication, Clever Collaborations. This practical guide makes it easier for businesses to find the 'front door' into each university and outlines the types of collaborations they can explore.
The future of work – and how higher education can prepare us for it – is considered by the Aspen Institute's Future of Work Initiative co-chair Bruce Reed. In the robot era, he says "universities will be the Jedi masters who teach us to look inward for the strengths we need to survive and adapt". And he notes that universities hone skills that are hardest to automate: critical thinking, curiosity and judgment.
The future of research, as Dame Anne Glover notes, will rely on us speaking up for knowledge and staying at the cutting edge, because if we stand still, we will be overtaken. "If you don’t seize opportunities, if you are not quick on your feet, someone else will be there before you," she warns.
The future of technology won't be all dystopian downside, says AI expert Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte. He forecasts a loss of some jobs that are predictable, repeatable or analytic, but a growing number of jobs that require technical, creative and social skills.
The future of our universities themselves will be characterised by continuing innovation, predicts Australia's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, with a witty conjuring of a fictional board game called ‘Faculty’ in which the wild cards are policy decisions.
And the future of innovation relies on the vital role of our universities and research system to secure Australia’s future prosperity, notes Innovation and Science Australia Chair Bill Ferris.
The future of Australia's global ties will be shaped by our success in international education – a point we make in a video series to mark a new milestone in the growth of our international student numbers.
We also bring you insights from leading philanthropists on how to pitch university projects to donors – such as research that has helped to prevent women dying after childbirth in some of Australia’s poorest neighbouring countries.
And, marking the anniversary of the Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy launch, we bring you insights from National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association President Sharlene Leroy-Dyer about the importance of a university education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
Until next time,
Professor Margaret Gardner and Belinda Robinson
Chair and Chief Executive