Industry update: engineering, health and science

Industry update: engineering, health and science

This article may be out of date. Please refer to the Good Universities Guide blog for the latest updates in the tertiary sector.

Thinking about studying engineering, one of the health fields or science? We’re here to keep you updated on research, news and developments in these disciplines. If you’re heading into another field, expect further updates from The Good Universities Guide in coming months.


Driverless cars are hitting Australian roads sooner than you might have imagined, with trials being conducted in Adelaide during the International Driverless Cars Conference in November. It’s been predicted that the driverless car industry will be worth $90 billion within 15 years.

Swinburne University of Technology is undertaking research into the use of robots in schools. The project is being conducted in partnership with Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland and the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia. The three-year program will determine how robots can improve classroom learning and is being conducted in two South Australian schools per term.

Health, medicine and nursing

The Australian Medical Association has called on the federal government to improve Indigenous health in its Position Statement on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. Despite modest gains in life expectancy among the Indigenous population, the statement makes clear that more needs to be done to close the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

A $43 million grant will support research into dementia prevention and cure, with fellowships for 76 researchers announced by the federal government in October. This will support the World Dementia Council’s target of finding a cure or modifying therapy by 2025. Melanoma detection is also set to improve, with Perth’s Edith Cowan University awarded a $450,000 grant to conduct a study into a new blood test.

Additionally, the AFL is funding a University of Melbourne research project into the brains of retired players who have suffered concussions.


The federal government has established a set of science and research priorities critical to Australia’s future, with food, soil and water, transport, cybersecurity, energy, resources, advanced manufacturing, environmental change and health making the list. The priorities will be reviewed every two years to ensure the most pressing issues are being addressed.

Universities across the country have conducted some great science research, including the University of Western Australia — with researcher and chemistry student Callum Ormonde part of a team that discovered how to unboil an egg — and RMIT University, where the Rural People: Resilient Futures project highlighted the effects of climate change on vulnerable and isolated people in rural areas.

Meanwhile, the Australian Academy of Science has launched a new gender equity program to address the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

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