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