Innovation Conference and Exhibition brings students and industry together
Event provides opportunity to interact and share ideas on work integrated learning and entrepreneurship
The University of Wollongong’s School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering (SECTE) hosts its annual Innovation Conference and Exhibition on Friday (13 November), with this year’s event being held virtually via the platform Accelevents, from 9.15am to 1.30pm.
The Innovation Conference and Exhibition is a platform for industries, academics and students to interact and share ideas from a work integrated learning (WIL) and entrepreneurship perspective.
The Conference includes invited talks from industry, UOW start-ups, selected student thesis and project presentations, followed by an industry-academia-student panel discussion on WIL and entrepreneurship.
The Exhibition provides an opportunity for students in Engineering Design and Management subjects to display the innovative products they develop as a team in their second and third year, with a few leading to start-up companies.
Conference Chair and event organiser Dr Ginu Rajan said the event is part of SECTE’s program to create work-ready graduates and entrepreneurs through a specific and curriculum-based structure that introduces students to project-based learning.
“In this program, students are introduced to design thinking in the first year, then into building a specific design in the second year, before industry-based projects are introduced in the third year, and the outcomes are demonstrated at the Exhibition,” Dr Rajan said.
“Students can gain two years of collaboration experience with industry during their studies. From there, students can go into advanced programs, which can lead directly to start-up companies through our ‘Lean Engineering Start-up’ program.
“This event is a motivational program for students where they take part in a conference during their studies and is a major platform for industries to present their ideas to students and vice-versa.”
Dr Rajan said the students had risen to the challenges of preparing and presenting their projects remotely.
“They responded very well to the challenge and were highly enthused with the opportunity to showcase the project through the virtual conference platform Accelevents,” he said.
“We decided to use a professional conference platform, Accelevents, to provide a nice experience for the students to compensate for the normal on campus exhibition. We have made the labs COVID-safe and provided the opportunity for students to use the lab as well.”
The program was a finalist in the 2020 Australian Education Collaboration Network (ACEN), the professional association for work-integrated learning (WIL) in Australia.
Industry has also thrown its support behind the program, Dr Rajan said.
“Industries are very supportive and we have a good number of invited industry talks this year,” he said.
“The conference we run along with the exhibition is a pathway to create that link and showcase the capability of our students and get them involved in our teaching programs.
This year’s conference speakers include University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO; entrepreneur Matt Bullock, CEO and founder of Spinify and founder of eWAY; Transport for NSW Manager Road Safety Technology Tam McCaffery; and AustSTEM Foundation Director Tony Strasser.
For more information go to https://www.uow.edu.au/events/2020/secte-innovation-conference-and-exhibition.php