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Engagement Strategy and Activities

ACEMS Engagement Strategy

ACEMS engagement is strategic and aligned to realise research relevance, engagement with key stakeholders, knowledge translation and impact. It is coordinated by a full-time Stakeholder Engagement Officer and involves members across ACEMS professional, research and student members.

Internal and External Engagement

ACEMS engagement with internal stakeholders aims to:

  • Connect ACEMS members’ capabilities and interests to external opportunities for research promotion, research collaboration, engagement, and impact.
  • Develop ACEMS members’ research engagement and industry skills for developing collaborations with external stakeholders and realising research engagement and impact goals.
  • Support networking internally and externally.

ACEMS engagement with external stakeholders aims to:

  • Support networking, relationship building, and mutual learning with external stakeholders.
  • Understand external stakeholder needs and goals and match ACEMS members (from research students to senior academics) as research collaborators to realise mutual benefits.
  • Encourage and support engagement with research collaborators along and beyond stages of the research project pathway (from planning, to research, reporting, and impact).
  • Provide funding schemes including co-funding to support opportunities for external collaborations, by possibly bringing together ACEMS cross-node teams, students, and ECRs.
  • Support our researcher-collaborator teams to apply for internal and external funding for proposed research and other collaborations.
  • Maximise the value and new value creation from our research, and other products and services, for collaborators, relevant end users and other potential beneficiaries.
  • Grow and nurture enduring relationships and see and shape opportunities for mutual benefit.

Engagement Schemes and Goals

The schemes illustrated in Figure 1 are a key part of enabling ACEMS engagement strategy and goals. These include:

  • The Industry Affiliate Program (IAP) for Industry Affiliate Members (IAM)
  • The Industry Collaboration Support Scheme (ICSS)
  • Engagement events, services and activities
    • Workshops (including for research planning)
    • Networking
    • And others as detailed under Engagement Activities below

Figure 1: ACEMS Key Engagement Schemes and Goals

ACEMS Engagement Activities

ACEMS enabled a breadth of engagement-related events, services and activities in 2021 both for and with external stakeholders. Some of these are highlighted in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Some of the engagement-related activities and services enabled by ACEMS during 2021.

Key Activities

Key activities and events with research collaborators in 2021 included:

  • The ACEMS Final Retreat.
  • The ACEMS Ideas Challenge.
  • National Science Week events highlighting the Centre’s ongoing work on preserving the Great Barrier Reef with AIMS and other industry partners.
  • Presentations, podcasts and other activities with the Australian Research Data Commons to recognise research software as a first-class research output.
  • Presentations to collaborators and other external organisations including research briefings to end users.
  • ACEMS sponsorship of other organisations’ events and initiatives of benefit to the mathematical sciences.
  • Public lectures with esteemed guests from industry, research and government.
  • ACEMS guest speaker roles at industry organised events, including conferences, seminars, datathons, and in-house talks.
  • ACEMS (co-)hosted and (co-)organised public events, including workshops, seminars and hackathons.
  • Applications for joint funding.
  • Student placements, and negotiations for new placements, including via the Vacation Research scheme and the APR Internship Scheme.
  • Continued engagement with citizen science, schools, educators, teacher’s associations, to realise research outcomes.

A few of these are detailed further below. Further examples are detailed in Partner Organisation and Industry Affiliate Member reports, internal grant scheme reports and elsewhere in this annual report.

The ACEMS Annual Main Retreat affords an important opportunity to bring together researchers, students, and external stakeholders, from across Australia and internationally, to grow connections, opportunities, and share knowledge. In 2021, the retreat was run in a connected hybrid format with four in-person events and online via Zoom.

A total of 199 ACEMS members and industry guests registered to attend the annual retreat. It was great to see the high level of engagement of industry guests, who actively participated in both the Main Retreat and Student/ECR Retreat programs.

Industry Engagement Aspects of Annual Retreat

There is a strong focus on industry engagement at the Annual Retreat, within both the Main Retreat and the Student/Early Career Researcher programs.

The Main Retreat Program, for all members, featured:

  • ACEMS stakeholder engagement presentation(s).
  • Industry and stakeholder invitations (including POs, IAMs, and other current and potential collaborators).
  • Industry guest speakers affording an opportunity for our industry stakeholders to either showcase an existing or proposed collaborative project with ACEMS.
  • Ideas Challenge and Industry Collaboration Support Scheme (ICSS) presentations from ACEMS members who have received funding.

The Student and Early Career Researcher (ECR) Retreat Program, featured:

  • An Industry Panel session and Q&A.
  • Contributions from industry guests during other sessions as appropriate.

Given the hybrid nature of the retreat and the fact that sessions were held via Zoom, usual activities such as networking drinks, lunches and dinners with industry guests were not possible as they had been previously.

Industry Presentations at ACEMS Annual Retreats

A total of 13 industry guest speakers delivered presentations or spoke on industry panels, as part of both programs. These speakers came from 10 different organisations, including POs, IAMs, and others.

Industry Guest Speakers at the 2021 ACEMS Main and Student/ECR Retreats
Speaker Organisation
Hugh Possingham Office of Queensland Chief Scientist
Rachael Thomas
Peter Steinle Bureau of Meteorology
Vu Nguyen Amazon Research Australia
Sally Cripps CSIRO/Data 61
Chris Volinsky AT&T
Bernadette Guiffrida Australian Bureau of Statistics
Juan Ortiz Australian Institute of Marine Science
Carolyn Huston CSIRO
Petra Kuhnert CSIRO
Tina Navin Cristina Sax Institute
Matthew Hall VicRoads
Alex Herold VicRoads

In the final year of the Centre’s active operations, the Centre developed and launched the ACEMS Ideas Challenge. The scheme was funded with $60k of surplus Central funds due to reduced travel activity, online events and other COVID-related savings from the Stakeholder Engagement Portfolio. The scheme was designed to assist members with driving a final burst of activity with the Centre’s Partner Organisations and provide a foundation for ongoing research activity beyond the end of ACEMS.

Read more about the ACEMS Ideas Challenge and funded project ideas here.

In 2021, the Centre secured external grant funding to support its National Science Week activities. This funding enabled the Centre to supercharge the scale and variety of National Science Week events including the Great Barrier Reef Citizen Science Challenge. The event was a huge success with several other activities to support the Citizen Science Challenge event and showcase the Centre’s ongoing work on preserving the Great Barrier Reef with AIMS and other industry partners.

Read more about the ACEMS National Science Week Initiative events here.

A range of events were organised jointly with ACEMS members and industry, government, and/or end-users in 2021. These activities have played a significant role in academic-industry engagement, networking, and knowledge transfer. These seminars and workshops covered a variety of important research topics including:

  • Explainable AI.
  • Synthetic Data.
  • Responsible Data Science.
  • Climate Extremes.
  • Open-Source Software Packages.

The table below provides details about a selection of these. Further details regarding the Synthetic Data workshop can be found in the ABS PO report and the Responsible Data Science Symposium can be found here.

Event Title Location
Decode Datathon: Decoding Business Statistics
The QUT CDS Decode Datathon is a selective one-month intensive facilitated training event where teams of data scientists, professionals and subject matter experts come together to delve into topical real-world challenges, develop meaningful insights and leverage or create novel datasets to provide solutions to problems identified by government or industry.
Environmental Modelling for Better Predictions & Decisions
A two-day symposium covering all aspects of the environment including ecology, populations, fisheries, agriculture, climate, weather. The event also covered modelling topics suitable to broad audiences in mathematics, statistics, or data science.
Focused Workshop: Synthetic Data
A hybrid workshop held in partnership with the Australian Data Science Network. The workshop covered topics including synthetic data generation, generating time-series and machine learning topics. Recordings of the talks are available online:
International Symposium on Forecasting
‘Considered the forecasting field’s premier international conference, the ISF showcases the full scope of forecasting sectors. This year’s event features sessions on climate predictability, forecasting electricity demand, forecasting in business and supply chains, financial-market volatility, forecast optimality, early-warning signals, tourism forecasting, information-technology trends and macroeconomic trends, and forecasting for public good, among many others.’
Practical Applications of Network Science workshop
This two-day workshop included:
  • Two skill building tutorial sessions using the software environment R. The workshops will start at an introductory level and proceed to working with real-world applications.
  • A series of invited talks including leading researchers on how they used network science in the problems they care about.
  • Bringing together diverse researchers working on the common theme of network science in facilitated networking sessions.
Predictive Maintenance and Bayesian Statistics
ACEMS & Dingo Software held a workshop at QUT with guests from Information Systems and Engineering on predictive maintenance models and opportunities to improve the accuracy and explainability using Bayesian and other approaches.
Research Impact Workshop
A tailored workshop on Research Impact, to better create, capture, value, and communicate research impact.
Showcase of the Data Science for Social Good
A showcase event that featured the results of several Data Science for Social Good projects completed in partnership with non-profits and social enterprises.

Explainable AI

Synthetic Data

Responsible Data Science

Research Impact Workshop

Focused Workshop: Synthetic Data

Open-Source Research Software Panel Discussion

ACEMS Members meeting with industry collaborators at a working dinner during an ACEMS workshop

ACEMS AI Gentry White presenting at the Responsible Data Science Symposium

Angela Dahlke

ACEMS Stakeholder Engagement Officer Angela Dahlke

ACEMS Stakeholder Engagement Officer Angela Dahlke gave a keynote talk at the University of Queensland’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biology’s Industry Advisory Board on 24 November 2021.

The keynote afforded an opportunity to discuss topics including the importance, and mechanisms, of stakeholder engagement, including along the research to impact pathway, for realisation of opportunities (including related to UQ-led Centre of Excellence Proposal), and between fields of research.

ACEMS research themes, as relevant to the chemical and biological sciences, were highlighted, along with some exemplar transdisciplinary projects with significant stakeholder engagement. The Australian Data Science Network was introduced as an ACEMS legacy for future engagement.

ACEMS members delivered 21 presentations to external organisations across industry, government, non-profit, and research, as detailed in the table below. Many of these were a ‘briefing’, being for the primary purpose of knowledge transfer or research translation to a targeted audience including research collaborators or end users.

ACEMS Member Briefings and Presentations to External Organisations in 2021
Summary of Briefing or Presentation Key Participants from ACEMS and Organisation
AIMS ACEMS was referred to AIMS' Reefworks manager and Athena Defence AI.  The initial meeting on 28 October enabled mutual introductions and a briefing by ACEMS on relevant reef research with AIMS and others, and capabilities.
  • ACEMS: Angela Dahlke & Kerrie Mengersen
  • AIMS: Melanie Olsen
Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) Angela Dahlke held first briefing with ARDC's Dr Tom Honeyman regarding:
  • research software as a research output in the mathematical sciences
  • ACEMS research software outputs including R packages and related educational resources, hackathons, seminars, etc
  • ARDC's draft National Agenda for Research Software & strategy in relation to promotion of research software as a first-class research output
  • Proposed introductions to ACEMS members active in research software, including for meeting/briefing with Prof. Rob Hyndman, and possible engagements (including proposed podcast, webinar panel, and invitation to public lecture by Matt Wand)
  • ACEMS: Angela Dahlke & Rob Hyndman
  • ARDC: Tom Honeyman
Australian Space Data Analysis Facility On the recommendation of the Australian Space Agency, representatives from ACEMS and the Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF) have had a number of meetings to provide briefings regarding the purpose, capabilities, resources, of each organisation, interest in space data (and needs from a researcher perspective) and how the organisations may collaborate to realise goals, including to harness space data.
  • ACEMS: Angela Dahlke
  • ASDAF: Asha Stabback
Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) Results of investigating the additional transmission of COVID-19 prevented by three-day back tracing of contacts was presented to members of the CDNA.
  • ACEMS: Laura Boyle, Dennis Liu & Joshua Ross
  • Department of Health (Vic): Allen Cheng
  • UoM: Jodie McVernon
Communicable Diseases Network Australia Final briefing on the incremental utility in reducing COVID-19 transmission of back-tracing three days prior to symptom onset against tracing two or three generations of close contacts.
  • ACEMS: Laura Boyle, Dennis Liu & Joshua Ross
  • Department of Health (Vic): Allen Cheng
  • UoM: Jodie McVernon
Commission of Excellence and Innovation in Health Presentation on mathematical modelling of healthcare systems.
  • ACEMS: Nigel Bean & Laura Boyle
  • CEIH: Tina Hardin
Deloitte Space On the recommendation of the Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF), ACEMS and Deloitte have had a number of meetings to provide briefings regarding the purpose, capabilities, resources, of ACEMS, the aims of the Deloitte sponsored Gravity Challenge which harnesses space data to solve industry-nominated challenges, and supports the development of solutions via a structured program.
There was a discussion regarding ACEMS research which may be relevant to Challenge participants, such as in the areas of data integration, which may be shared as part of the Gravity Challenge mentoring program. The organisations also discussed how they may collaborate to realise goals, including to identify challenges associated with the use of space data, that are relevant to ACEMS research themes - and opportunities for ACEMS members to connect with the Gravity Challenge for participation, mentoring, making industry connections, knowledge exchange, professional development, and possibly unlocking funding (e.g., from Government or the Australian Space Agency or Industry challenge owners) to support development of ideas/collaborations.
  • ACEMS: Angela Dahlke
  • Deloitte Space: Geraldine Baca Triveno & Byron Riessen
Dingo Software Kerrie Mengersen briefed representatives from DINGO, the world leader in providing Predictive Maintenance solutions to asset-intensive industries (e.g., mining, defence, etc), regarding a number of different methods from statistics and data science relevant to their current work in predictive maintenance, along with a number of examples of application in collaborative research by ACEMS members across a number of nodes.  The discussion also considered future data opportunities (e.g., space data), economic transitions, and other technologies which could be relevant. This briefing, whilst enabling knowledge transfer, may also lead to a future collaboration with DINGO.
  • ACEMS: Kerrie Mengersen.
  • Dingo Software: Steve Buckman and Nishani Musafer.
Dingo Software Kerrie Mengersen provided a research briefing to a Dingo Software Data Scientist and Engineer, regarding statistical strategies, approaches and methods potentially relevant to predictive maintenance remaining useful life (RUL) models.
  • ACEMS: Kerrie Mengersen
  • Dingo: Nishani Musafer
Dingo Software Mohammad Davoudabadi provided a research briefing to a Dingo Software Data Scientist and VP of Engineering, regarding State Space Models and Bayesian Methods (including MCMC and SMC methods) potentially relevant to predictive maintenance remaining useful life (RUL) models.
  • ACEMS: Mohammad Davoudabadi
  • Dingo: Nishani Musafer & Steve Buckman
DST Group A briefing with DST's Human Systems Integration (HSI) team leader and key researchers at which a selection of ACEMS researchers, researchers from other fields, and applied human performance domains could discuss research, capabilities, infrastructure, tools, and questions of interest to HSI, whose research aims to enhance the protection, performance and safety of their personnel through the application of human centred research and the design, acquisition and implementation of systems.

The Human Sciences Integration team is interested and noted the relevance of research, capabilities, infrastructure, and research questions/ideas, to their HSI and other areas of DST, and was interested in a further briefing, attended by a wider group of researchers from ACEMS and its human performance network, as well as exploring future collaboration opportunities.
  • ACEMS: Tomasz Bednarz and Clara Grazian.
  • DST Group: Chris Brady, Larissa Cahill and Ryan Dummin.
  • QUT: Dylan Poulus and Michael Trotter
Federal Reserve Board Talk given for Federal Reserve Board useR group (28 September 2021) – Abstract:

It is becoming increasingly common for organizations to collect large numbers of related time series, and existing time series analysis tools are not always suitable to handle the scale, frequency and structure of the data collected. We will introduce the R packages tsibble, feasts and fable, designed to work with the tidyverse to flexibly manage and analyse collections of related time series. We will look at how to do data wrangling, data visualizations and exploratory data analysis, and we will show how some classical time series models can be applied using the fable package.
  • ACEMS: Rob Hyndman
Flying Fish Technologies Flying Fish Technologies heard ACEMS Stakeholder Engagement Officer and Deputy Director of Stakeholder Engagement on radio during National Science Week discussing the Virtual Reef Diver project.  They were keen to meet and discuss the Virtual Reef Diver project, relevant expertise/infrastructure behind it, and their projects and initiatives, and more broadly the work of ACEMS.
  • ACEMS: Angela Dahlke & Kerrie Mengersen
  • Flying Fish Tech: Robert Bell & Brett Kettle
Food Agility Quarterly reporting with the QUT team as a "Showcase" style of online achievements and updates of the project.
  • ACEMS: Miranda Mortlock
  • QUT: Paul Corry
Food Agility Second quarterly report with the QUT team as a "Showcase" style of online achievements and updates of the project.
  • ACEMS: Miranda Mortlock
  • QUT: Paul Corry
Healthy Land and Water (HLW) James McGree gave a presentation to HLW on a project and related work about an adaptive sampling design for low-cost vision-based flow-sensors and spatial statistical stream-network models to generate flow predictions throughout a river system.
  • ACEMS: James McGree
Sax Institute A briefing to discuss synthetic data, further to the Synthetic Data workshop in September, attended by Sax Institute and members of ACEMS and the ADSN research/stakeholder community.
  • ACEMS: Angela Dahlke & Kerrie Mengersen
  • Sax: Kerrin Bleicher, Tina Navin Cristina & Richard Summerhayes
Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS) ACEMS Stakeholder Engagement Officer briefed TAS-D CRC Chief Scientist regarding ACEMS relevant capabilities in relation to Great Barrier Reef and marine monitoring, including work done with AIMS as well as capabilities of interest to, and which may be harnessed in a collaboration with, Flying Fish Technologies (FFT) (since FFT is a current shortlisted applicant for TAS-D funding).  Dr Devitt confirmed the relevance of the capabilities to significant future opportunities, requested a document comprising a statement of vision and capabilities of people interested in opportunities, and noted relevant resources to consider (e.g., ethics in AI in Defence) and contacts to make, including at AIMS.
  • ACEMS: Angela Dahlke
  • TAS: Kate Devitt
University of Queensland School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (UQ SCMB) Industry Advisory Board ACEMS Stakeholder Engagement Officer Angela Dahlke was invited to give a talk to, and lead a discussion with, the UQ SCMB's Industry Advisory Board.
  • ACEMS: Angela Dahlke
  • Abbott Rapid Diagnostics: Mark Volling
  • Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology: Trent Munro
  • CSIRO: Peter Kambouris
  • Davies Collison Cave: Victor Argaet
  • Infinity Care: John Kapeleris
  • Patheon Biologics: Kym Baker
  • QLD Dept of Environment and Science: Mark Jacobs
  • QLD Emory Drug Discovery Initiative: Andrew Harvey
  • Sustainable Minerals Institute: Neville Plint
  • UniQuest: Craig Belcher
  • UQ: Joanne Blanchfield, James De Voss, Liz Gillam, Lisette Pregelj, Avril Robertson, Gary Schenk, Kate Stacey, Mark Starkey, Istvan Toth & Paul Young
  • Life Sciences QLD: Claire Bain
  • AusIndustry: Tracy Constable
  • FitGenes: Carrie Hillyard
VicRoads and Department of Transport Victoria The briefing affords an opportunity for VicRoads PI and key staff from the Department of Transport Victoria (of which VicRoads is now part) to meet with ACEMS members, discuss key projects happening across the DoT, for ACEMS members to share relevant research capabilities/strengths, and how these may be beneficial to VicRoads/DoT.
  • ACEMS: Tim Garoni, Jiadong Mao & Joyce Zhang
  • VicRoads/DoT: David Barton, Jeremy Burdan, Fiona Calvert, Roberto Evangelio, Richard Fanning, John Gaffney, David G. Gray, Matthew Hall, Nicki Kyriakou & Adrian S. Webb
World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific Investigating the utility of additional transmission prevented by three-day back tracing of contacts against tracing two generations of close contacts.
  • ACEMS: Laura Boyle, Dennis Liu & Joshua Ross
  • WHO: Linh-Vi Le& Simone Moraes Raszl