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New Chair focused on engineering innovation

Design researcher, practitioner and Australian Future Fellow, Professor Andy Dong has been appointed to The Warren Chair of Engineering Innovation at the University of Sydney. This newly established Chair will lead a program of education and research in engineering innovation in Australia.

With a background in mechanical engineering and artificial intelligence, Professor Dong is a researcher in the areas of computational design and design-led innovation. His research investigates how the design of products influences their potential rate of innovation, an area he calls “predictive analytics for engineering innovation.”

Professor Dong says his goal is to produce research that will improve and grow the current stock of knowledge.
“Businesses are increasingly relying on innovation to succeed. My goal is to produce research to help them figure out how to design or re-design products and services so that they can continually improve. I think this problem applies to all engineering innovations, from consumer electronics to heavy industries.”

Professor Archie Johnston, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, says Professor Dong’s appointment is further acknowledgement that design orientated innovation in engineering is a crucial focus for the future of the profession and the industry as a whole.

“We have introduced a number of innovation and entrepreneurship subjects across our programs in the faculty, particularly at the postgraduate level. We want to embed a real culture of innovation, one that is truly integrated with the research aspects of engineering and technology.”

The chair is funded by The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, an industry supported think tank based around collaboration which is able to draw on its networks covering academia, industry and government and is attached to the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies at the University of Sydney.

The Chairman of The Warren Centre, Chris Vonwiller, said: “This will assist Australian corporations understand and exploit the commercial potential of innovation and new engineering technology, and exploit this for wealth creation.”

Professor Dong regards design as one of the most complex problems for the arts, sciences and engineering communities. Building on his initial training in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, his research interests explore design competence and new ways of fostering innovation and innovative thinking through design processes.

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