Australian Centre for Innovation shuts it doors

An article on the closing of ACIIC was carried by this week, accessible at

Bouquets have been received from Professor Mark Dodgson:

“Ron Johnston is the founder of science and innovation policy studies in Australia, and has been its leading light for decades. He has made an immense contribution to the advancement of science and innovation, often in unreceptive conditions. The Australian Centre for Innovation will be missed and leaves a major gap. He deserves the gratitude of all those currently promoting science and innovation: we stand on his shoulders.”

and Professor Roy Green:

“Congrats Ron Johnston on champion innings for #innovation policy to reposition Australia as #knowledge economy.”

The Australian Centre for Innovation will live on through its endowment of an $0.75 million program in Humanitarian Innovation to be managed by the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering.

We also plan to continue to operate this website as a source of information and thought about innovation.

The Warren Centre awarded $700,000 to support humanitarian innovation in Australia

Media release

For immediate release 10 January 2019

Warren Centre Chairman, Richard Kell, and Dr Roslyn Dubs, Chair of the Australian Centre for Innovation (ACIIC), announce the establishment of a fund for the recognition of outstanding contributions in humanitarian engineering. “The efforts of humanitarian engineers are being highlighted around the globe every day. Engineers are using appropriate technology to provide clean water, sanitation, roads, power, communications, shelter and schools in less developed countries and fragile states,”  Richard Kell said.  “Of course, post disaster relief has been a major contribution. In recent times, massive relief efforts have been mobilised in PNG, Fiji, Indonesia and other Asia-Pacific countries, following earthquakes and cyclones.  Significant efforts are underway to operate refugee camps in Syria and Yemen,” he added.

The Warren Centre will manage legacy funds resulting from the ACIIC organisation so that the profound legacy of its long-term Director, Professor Ron Johnston, will continue. The annual program includes two humanitarian innovation awards for university students and is committed for a period of six years.

The Warren Centre will host two annual events designed to provoke thought leadership from Australian university students in the name of humanitarian innovation. The award events will be national, with students from all engineering schools throughout Australia encouraged to participate.

The first event, the Prof Ron Johnston Prize for Humanitarian Innovation, will highlight excellence in engineering innovation for ideas that support human welfare, post disaster or in fragile states. Part of the prize will be an internship with a leading consultant. The second event, the RedR Ron Johnston Rapid Response Prize, will see Australia’s best and brightest students invited to partake in a 48 hour, lock-down hackathon event to develop technical solutions for humanitarian problems. Addressing real life-real time challenges, mentored by RedR field operatives, this humanitarian hackathon is aimed at developing breakthrough solutions which can then be used in real world environments.

“The Warren Centre was chosen by the Board of ACIIC for this legacy role, following a rigorous and competitive process, and we are honoured to have been appointed for this important venture,” said Richard Kell.

“In making our submission to ACIIC, the Warren Centre nominated the USyd Faculty of Engineering and IT and “the engineers’ NGO”, RedR Australia, as our partners. Dr Jacqueline Thomas of the USyd Civil Engineering Humanitarian major will represent the Faculty as we proceed with this venture. The involvement of RedR operatives will add realism to the competition. RedR Chair, Dr Elizabeth Taylor says, “We look forward to working with the Warren Centre”. “The engagement in our team of the internationally acknowledged and accredited NGO, RedR Australia, will reflect well on the University of Sydney and the Faculty and create a unique experience for the student participants,” Richard Kell concluded.

Contact Details

Ashley Brinson, Executive Director, The Warren Centre

Mobile: +61 (0) 499 688 686


About The Warren Centre

The Warren Centre brings industry, government and academia together to create thought leadership in engineering, technology, and innovation. We constantly challenge the economic, legal, environmental, social and political issues surrounding innovation and technology.

At the Warren Centre we leap ahead of what people are thinking about today and move to where technology is taking us.  We have over 30 years’ experience of driving these conversations through projects, promotion, and independent advice, which in turn has helped drive entrepreneurship and economic growth.

The Warren Centre promotes excellence in innovation through delivering collaborative projects, supporting and recognising innovators across the profession, and providing independent advice to government and industry.

The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering Ltd
School of Information Technologies Building J12
University of Sydney NSW 2006
T: (02) 9351 3752
F: (02) 9351 2012
ABN: 27 132 821 688

The Australian Centre for Innovation is winding up

The Australian Centre for Innovation has operated successfully for just over 26 years. During that time we have chalked up a number of significant achievements.

I believe it is fair to claim, that we have significantly advanced the understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in the national and global economy and of the tools and policies required to support the growth and application of STI (though it has become apparent it is a never-ending challenge). We have trained STI experts in many countries, particularly in the ASEAN region. We also helped to pioneer the application of tools like scenario planning to strengthen the future-orientation of strategy, planning and management, and to interpret the potential characteristics of a range of emerging technologies. And we have had a marked impact on the learning of thousands of engineering students, providing them with a wider perspective on the professional aspects of their skill development, and of the role of technology in their future career.

But it is clear that times have changed. The demand for our special insights on science, technology and innovation has declined as governments and companies have moved to require end-to-end analysis, policy formulation and program delivery in house.

As a consequence, the Board and members have determined that ACIIC should enter voluntary liquidation as of 10 January 2019. But that does not end our contribution. Assets of some $700,000 have been gifted to the Warren Centre of Advanced Engineering to promote humanitarian innovation through two new programs to operate over a number of years. A press release from the Warren Centre in our News section provides more detail.

To all of you who have followed our pioneering work over the years to improve our nation’s understanding of and ability to implement effectively new technologies, many thanks. It is our intention to continue to contribute to this discussion through this website and other channels.

Best wishes – Ron Johnston