New head for Swinburne’s Factory of the Future


Leading Industry 4.0 expert and former CSIRO scientist, Dr Nico Adams, has been appointed as the new Director of Swinburne’s state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facility, the Factory of the Future.

Dr Adams has a background in materials and manufacturing informatics, and holds degrees from Oxford University and the University of York.

Prior to his appointment at Swinburne, Dr Adams was a senior research scientist and product manager at Data61, Australia’s leading data innovation group formed by the CSIRO.

Dr Adams says he was attracted to the role of Director of the Factory of the Future because of Swinburne’s commitment to research led innovation.

“Swinburne understands that to be successful in the digital economy does not just require technical, design and business model innovation, but also the development of leadership skills,” he says.

“Being part of a team working to achieve this is what makes the role of director so exciting.”

During his time at Data61, Dr Adams developed research to assist small-to-medium sized companies in taking advantage of the digital economy and leveraging opportunities afforded by Industry 4.0.

Dr Adams’ research has been reported in publications such as the Guardian, and he has been an in-demand speaker on industry 4.0 related topics.

Following on from his work with CSIRO and Data61, Dr Adams assumed the role of Program Lead for Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 at the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC).

At IMCRC, Dr Adams co-developed an innovation diagnostic and an Industry 4.0 business, product and strategy framework tailored for small-to-medium sized businesses.

This framework is about to be deployed through several organizations in the manufacturing industry, he says.

“My previous experience has given me a deep insight into how manufacturing companies in Australia today operate,” explains Dr Adams.

“This insight has suggested practical ways of working with companies to formulate and implement new business outcomes enabled by digital technology.”

The Swinburne Factory of the Future is the first University-based Industry 4.0 Enterprise in Australia.

Swinburne Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Aleksandar Subic, says Dr Adams’ expertise in digital innovation and Industy 4.0 makes him the perfect fit for the role of Director of Factory of the Future.

Professor Subic says he is confident that the industry knowledge and experience that Dr Adams brings with him will strengthen Swinburne’s capability and industry partnerships.

“The Swinburne Factory of the Future is the first Industry 4.0 University-based enterprise in Australia, involving a cluster of industries and enterprises to develop new capabilities and workforce for the digital economy,” explains Professor Subic.

“In his new role as Director of Swinburne Factory of the Future, Nico is well positioned to help our team further deepen our strategic industry partnerships.

The Factory of the Future supports the university’s strategy across all domains, including research with impact, future-ready learners, and innovative enterprise.

The facility supports students across the entire life cycle of training, education and research.

“Nico will play a key role within our team in developing the Factory of the Future as an innovative Industry 4.0 enterprise,” says Professor Subic.

Professor Subic said the development of the Factory of the Future into a world-class facility had been further helped with last year’s $135 million software grant from industrial giant, Siemens.

Dr Adams will start at Swinburne in the first week of February, 2018.