Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Benefits of investing in engineering
Australia is lucky to have some of the best engineers in the world. Right now engineers across the country are tackling projects across many industries including agriculture, infrastructure and environment. Investing in engineering not only resolves issues but increases efficiency and safety.
The bushfires over summer saw many country towns devastated and engineers will play a key role in the process of rebuilding them. The intensity of the fires will require roads and other infrastructure to be rebuilt to withstand hotter temperatures for the next bushfire season.
Aussies helping overseas road safety
According to a 2015 report issued by the World Health Organization, Thailand has the highest per-capita motorcycle deaths in the world and the second-highest rate of road fatalities per capita, with only Libya surpassing it.
A Melbourne-based road and transport safety company, Safe System Solutions is working with Thai authorities to make roads safer for the country’s motorists. Australia’s road fatalities have fallen by 60 per cent over the past 30 years due to decades of research, policy development, investment and public engagement in road safety.
Programs in Thailand are being implemented to focus on improving driver education, vehicle standards and road design thanks to Australian safety know-how.
Engineering in Defence
Anywise is currently working with the Australian Defence Department to improve the safety and reliability of military bridges used by defence personnel. Anywise is developing a system that leverages data to monitor the life cycles of these bridges and identifies when they need to be checked.
Given that large machinery cross these bridges but are not used on a regular basis, delivering accurate data is imperative to know what condition the bridge is in and potentially saving lives. It’s also a good way to support Australian business ideas to solve infrastructure problems.
Investing for our future
Contracting small-to-medium enterprise businesses secures jobs within Australia. This not only ensures future employment opportunities for STEM students in university now but making sure Australian science and innovation is able to compete with other countries.
Below shows statistics from UNESCO Institute for Statistics of money spent on research and development (R&D) by country:
Australia is coasting along in the middle. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows R&D spending by federal government organisations shrank $118 million or 5 per cent in 2016-17, with more than 400 staff cut last year.
Here is a breakdown of where investment into research and development is coming from:
Israel, with a population of 8.7 million people has 8,250 researchers per million inhabitants compared to Australia with 4,539 researchers per million inhabitants with a population of 25.6 million people. Another interesting country was Iceland, with 56 per cent male researchers and 44 per cent females representative of Iceland ranking first in the Global Gender Gap Index.