On 22nd July 2016, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian government released the Public Sector Data Management Implementation Report. This was an update to the Public Sector Data Management Report published in December 2015, which studied how public sector data helps the government with better service delivery and efficiencies and laid out a roadmap for the project implementation.
Following up on a conversation in February 2016, OpenGov spoke again to Helen Owens, Principal Advisor Public Data Policy. She is responsible for providing whole of government policy advice on the Australian Government’s public data strategy, data infrastructure, data in the economy, and digital government strategy.
The Public Sector Data Management Project Implementation Report was published this month. Several milestones have been passed and significant progress made on others. Going forward, which will be the highest priority areas in the short to medium term?
The upcoming six to twelve months look to be exciting as we finalise the recommendations of the Public Sector Data Management Report. My team, the Public Data Branch, within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) will be concentrating on the following key priorities:
- Transforming data.gov.au – we are working with Data61 to expand the existing data.gov.au and NationalMap infrastructure to maximise the discoverability and reuse of high-value open data by streamlining the publishing of data, improving data quality and enabling better search and discovery mechanisms.
- Continuing public-private partnerships – we will commence work on the Australian Government’s commitment to expanding the DataStart initiative to provide more opportunities for the private sector and start-ups to collaborate, test their ideas and partner with government.
- Supporting the release of more high-value data – we will collaborate with the private, academic, and research and community sectors to develop a High-Value Dataset Framework to assist entities and data custodians to identify high-value datasets for priority release in line with the Public Data Policy Statement.
- Improving data skills and capability – we are also working towards releasing the Australian Public Service (APS) Data Skills and Capability Framework, designed to improve data literacy and analytics skills across the APS to facilitate smarter policy develop, better service delivery and more efficient programme management.
As the implementation moves ahead, is there any need for adjustments or tweaks to the original strategy?
In the rapidly evolving environment of public data, we’re always looking at opportunities for improvement and willing to listen and adjust our approaches. For example, the release of the Public Data Policy Statement in December 2015 meant that my team increased engagement with Australian Government entities to assist them to meet their responsibilities under the Public Data Policy Statement.
There are a few significant bodies of work by other government entities in the public data space under way that will shape our path forward.
The Council of Australian Governments has agreed to pursue initiatives that will enhance transparency by providing Australian citizens with a greater level of real time data on how government money is spent and on the outcomes and performance of government initiatives. We’ll work with government entities to support this body of work by increasing the quality and quantity of public data to support transparency and accountability.
The Productivity Commission is currently undertaking an inquiry into Data Availability and Use, providing an opportunity to assess the impact of data policies and initiatives to date, and identify the barriers and challenges going forward. In response to the Productivity Commission’s issues paper, PM&C made a submission which is published on the Productivity Commission’s website. The Commission is scheduled to release its final report in March 2017 which will inform future priorities to progress further public data outcomes.
There is a lot of focus on inter-agency collaboration and projects, such as the seven high-value projects. Could you please give us a broad picture of how such collaboration is planned and executed? How are possible issues such as discrepancies in processes and conflicts with existing arrangements resolved and progress monitored?
As a central agency, PM&C has a whole-of-government view on the various data-related projects and initiatives across Commonwealth entities. My team works collaboratively with many entities to ensure processes and projects align broadly with the public data agenda and to avoid duplication of effort.
Seven inter-agency and cross-jurisdictional exemplar projects have been commissioned to demonstrate the value of public data, uncover barriers to use and enable better designed policies and services. They are designed to serve as proof-of-concept pilots to help build momentum and capability in the use of data. Lead entities have been nominated to drive each of the projects, reporting back to the Deputy Secretaries Data Group. Through these projects we are uncovering and addressing the barriers to greater use and re-use of our data.
The streamlining of data-related APS committee structures has greatly benefited data governance and allowed for deeper inter-agency collaboration. The Secretaries Data Group and Deputy Secretaries Data Group provide governance for public data initiatives across Australian Government entities, including providing advice and resolving any issues in relation to the delivery of the cross-jurisdictional projects.
In addition, the Data Champions network is a group of senior Commonwealth officials whose responsibility it is to promote the use, sharing and reuse of data across entities. They are a central contact point for data-related issues for their agency and further support close collaboration between entities.
A number of frameworks have been released or are going to be released at both the state and national levels, such as the Guide to big data and the Australian Privacy Principles, Charging for Data Services Information Sheet, Framework for High-Value Data, APS Data Skills and Capability Framework and many more. How will these frameworks be translated into specific policies and actionable guidelines?
The frameworks coordinated by PM&C are the Framework for High-Value Data and the APS Data Skills and Capability Framework, which are both recommendations from the Public Sector Data Management Report.
The Framework for High-Value Data will assist entities and data custodians to meet their responsibilities under the Public Data Policy Statement through collaboration with the private, research and academic sectors to extend the value of public data, and identifying high-value datasets for priority release.
We are working to prioritise the release of ‘high-value’ data due to the potential value and outcomes for the private and research sectors, as well as government. One example is the Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF). Since its release in February 2016, it has been downloaded over 1,500 times (as at 9 August 2016), and been used in innovative projects such as the NRMA Insurance Safer Homes initiative (provides risk levels associated with various threats to residential property at a specific address) and Mappify.io (Free geocoding, reverse geocoding and coordinate classification service).
My team has also developed the APS Data Skills and Capability Framework through collaboration with the private and research sectors and other Australian Government entities such as the APSC. This holistic approach to improve overall data literacy and skills will facilitate smarter policy development, better service delivery, and more efficient programme management, which will have flow-on benefits for all Australians.
My team also works closely with other Australian Government entities and provides input on relevant guidelines and frameworks that inform the public data agenda. The Charging for Data Services Information Sheet was released by the Department of Finance in December 2015, and outlines the Australian Government Charging Framework. This is designed to support data-driven innovation by improving data take-up rates and reducing price barriers that deter the wider use of data.
In addition, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner consulted us on the development of their draft Guide to Big Data and the Australian Privacy Principles.
As demonstrated by the Public Sector Data Management Implementation Report, we’re continually monitoring the progress and outcomes of these frameworks and guidelines. My team will continue to work with entities across Government to translate and integrate these frameworks and policy documents into entities’ best practices, policies and actionable guidelines.
Can you share your thoughts on the role played by organisations such as Data61 and also by public-private partnerships in the Australian government’s ICT and public data strategy?
Public-private partnerships play a key role in the delivery of the public data strategy. Both sectors can share knowledge and facilitate innovation.
Our DataStart initiative is just one great example of the power of public-private partnerships. Delivered by my team in late 2015-early 2016, the pilot DataStart initiative aimed to give Australian startups new opportunities to develop sustainable businesses through access to public data. This was a great example of startups, incubators, the corporate sector and the government working together to deliver data-driven innovation.
Over 200 applications were received to the DataStart pilot, with cohortIQ announced as the winner in January 2016. cohortIQ is a health startup that uses hospital and open public data to reduce the estimated 235,000 avoidable hospital admissions each year. Other shortlisted teams also demonstrated fantastically innovative solutions to economic, social and environmental issues using public data, that they received prizes independently funded by the private sector.
Data61 has an important role in the Australian Government’s public data agenda. The Government is investing $75 million in Data61 to capitalise on the data revolution, and to ensure Australia maintains a world-leading data science capability. We work hand in hand with Data61 to deliver the public data policy agenda and the capability that they bring to the table is, in my view, world leading.
Data.gov.au is the whole-of-government data catalogue. There are several initiatives, such as Multi-Agency Data Integration Project, virtual DataLab and Data linkage projects. How do these all connect? And what is the timeline for getting the most valuable datasets onto Data.gov.au?
Data.gov.au provides an easy way for everyone to find and access public data, and allows for information to be use in a variety of ways. There are over 9,400 datasets available via data.gov.au, with over 4,900 API enabled resources (as of 8 August 2016).
We’ve worked hard to make a number of high-value data sets already available on data.gov.au, including the:
- Department of Health’s release of a linkable 10% de-identified sample of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- The Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF) – Australia’s authoritative address file compiled by PSMA Australia Limited
- Intellectual Property Government Open Live Data – a weekly release of intellectual property information
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s registers – auditors, financial services authorised representatives, financial services licensees, licensed liquidators, credit licensees and credit representatives
- Australian Taxation Office’s corporate tax transparency data
- Publicly funded research data created as a result of the Bioregional Assessments Programme
We’ll be continuing to work with all levels of Government to make appropriately anonymised, de-personalised high-value public data openly available via data.gov.au.
Where the data can be appropriately de-identified and anonymised, data generated from initiatives such as MADIP (a collaborative cross-portfolio partnership lead by the ABS to improve accessibility to, and maximise use of, public data), DataLab (A secure and safe (remote and onsite) computer environment in which researchers can analyse de-identified data using their choice of software package, e.g. SAS, SPSS, etc.)and other data linkage projects will be made openly available on data.gov.au to help deliver high-value social, environmental and economic outcomes for government, industry and community sectors.
In our work with Data61 to expand the existing data.gov.au and NationalMap infrastructure the technological outcomes and lessons learned from initiatives such as the MADIP will be incorporated into the transformation of the data.gov.au platform.
We read about a tiered program to build data and analytics capability. Can you tell us about the different approaches to and levels of training and developing data capability?
This is something I’m really excited about. While there are pockets of excellence within the APS with the required level of data analytics skills, there has previously been a lack of an overarching strategy to drive the coordination of data skills. This isn’t an issue unique to the APS; there is a global undersupply of data analytics skills.
The APS Data Skills and Capability Framework has been designed to improve data literacy at all skill levels throughout the APS. The Framework consists of four key components that form a tiered approach to skills and capability development.
The base tier is an APS Data Literacy Programme, to provide ongoing learning and development resources to improve general data skills and literacy across the APS. This programme targets basic data literacy levels and is suitable for all non-specialist APS officers, as data literacy is increasingly being recognised as an essential core skill.
The middle tier of the Framework consists of tertiary level university degrees and short courses to target more specialised data literacy. These opportunities focus on technical skills for APS officers that are required to interrogate and manipulate data in their job roles.
The top tier is the Data Fellowship Programme, an exclusive and competitive Programme that provides advanced data training to data specialists. Participants will get the opportunity to complete a three month placement in an organisation such as Data61, that has world leading expertise in research, engineering and technology development.
We expect to launch the APS Data Skills and Capability Framework soon.
Privacy-by-design appears to be the accepted approach to balance the need for information sharing with protecting privacy. Could you help us understand what the approach entails in practice in view of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet?
Privacy and security concerns are paramount as we work to further the public data agenda, and our privacy-by-design approach informs the initiatives under way across Government to enhance privacy and security protections:
- The Public Data Policy Statement requires Australian Government entities to “uphold the highest standards of security and privacy for the individual, national security and commercial confidentiality.”
- In early 2016, the Attorney General’s Department consulted on a proposed Privacy Amendment (Notification of Serious Data Breaches)Bill 2015, which will mandate data breach notifications for organisations covered by the Privacy Act
- Through its inquiry on Data Availability and Use, the Productivity Commission is considering how to preserve individual privacy and control
- The ABS is adopting international best practice and establishing a trusted-access model for sharing integrated data; and the OAIC has developed guidelines on sharing and integrating data to ensure the highest standards of security and privacy are met when data is made openly available
Technology also has a role in alleviating privacy and security concerns. Data61 is developing technological solutions that enable the effective use of data with appropriate privacy and confidentiality safeguards such as confidential computing (insights from data without seeing the data) and synthetic data generation (production data applicable to a situation that are not obtained by direct measurement). These technologies will add extra layers of protection for valuable personal data and assist in preserving confidentiality.
Australian government’s public data strategy is forward-facing and ambitious in scope. What is your vision of the Australian public service and economy in 5-10 years in the future in terms of data usage and digital transformation?
As we all know, the pace of technological advance is rapid, and the volume of data is increasing exponentially. In the next five to ten years, I hope that Australians are receiving the direct benefits of using data to inform better decision-making, improving efficiencies and driving innovation across all sectors in Australia.
My vision is for Australia to be realising as much value from data as possible – in 2014, PwC Australia estimated a $48 billion in potential value from data-driven innovation that was not yet realised. I would like to see new data-driven businesses such as CohortIQ and Mezo Research thriving as a result of initiatives like DataStart, and continuing to demonstrate the potential benefit of data-driven innovation to substantially impact economic growth.
For government and the APS, I hope that the government will be an exemplar in this space, and that data is being used to underpin all key government practices, whether in service delivery, policy development or programme evaluation. The Public Data Policy Statement will bring the long term transformational change in Commonwealth entities’ cultures and attitudes to the use and accessibility of public data, while improving the quality and quantity of public data available.
Over the next three years, it is the aim that all appropriately de-identified, anonymised public data is available through data.gov.au, and publishing public data is standard business practice within government. The development of the data.gov.au infrastructure to bring together open data from all jurisdictions, governments and entities, and to provide a seamless experience for search, discovery and analysis will be an important milestone in delivering the public data strategy.
We’re working hard to deliver these ambitious outcomes for the benefit of all Australians. Visit the PM&C website, www.dpmc.gov.au and data.gov.au for updates and more information as we continue to progress and achieve public data outcomes.
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.
The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.
Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.
This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.
CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.
The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.
On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.
Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.
Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”
He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.
By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.
CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.
Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.
The Cyberport Entrepreneurship Programmes’ 20th Anniversary Celebration and Graduation Ceremony was a major event attended by notable personalities, distinguished guests and budding innovators.
Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment. This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding startups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.
Professor Sun Dong, the Secretary for Innovation, Technology, and Industry, Hong Kong highlighted Cyberport’s incredible journey and the achievements of its vibrant community. Expressing his delight in commemorating Cyberport’s two-decade-long legacy, he emphasised the institution’s pivotal role as an ICT powerhouse in Hong Kong.
From its humble beginnings to its present stature, Cyberport has emerged as a catalyst for innovation, nurturing over 2,000 technology companies and startups and showcasing an exponential growth rate over the past five years.
Cyberport’s community has attracted a staggering US$38 billion of investment, marking its significance as an ICT flagship in Hong Kong. The establishment takes pride in its contribution to nurturing numerous innovative ideas and fostering dynamic business ventures, with seven notable unicorns in fintech, smart living, and digital entertainment sectors.
Cyberport excelled at the prestigious Hong Kong ICT Awards, with 25 startups securing 28 accolades, including the esteemed Award of the Year. This achievement showcased the institution’s exceptional calibre and innovation prowess nurtured within its ecosystem.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of startups in Cyberport’s success story, Professor Sun Dong shared how these young enterprises, often starting with a simple idea at a small table, grow in tandem with Cyberport’s support. The institution provides not just financial aid but also a nurturing environment where entrepreneurs can leverage extensive networks, collaborative spaces, and expert guidance to cultivate their ideas into commercial successes.
The graduation of more than 200 startups from the Entrepreneurship Programme stood as a testament to Cyberport’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial talent. This initiative empowers startups to translate their ideas into tangible commercial solutions and market breakthroughs, laying the foundation for their future success.
Looking ahead, Professor Sun Dong outlined Cyberport’s exciting plans, including the upcoming expansion block slated for completion in two years, aimed at providing additional space for the community’s development. He also highlighted Cyberport’s initiative to establish the Artificial Intelligence Supercomputing Centre, a pioneering endeavour set to commence in 2024, envisioned to be a pioneering and substantial facility in Hong Kong.
Cyberport’s extraordinary journey showcases significant achievements while charting a promising future, embodying the core values of innovation, collaboration, and collective growth.
Professor Sun expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government, acknowledging their hard work and contributions to the tech ecosystem emphasising the importance of collective participation for a better future.
The vibrant success of events like the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2023 resonates with Cyberport’s commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration, further cementing its role as a catalyst for technological advancement and entrepreneurial growth in Hong Kong.
The Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) 2023 saw a turnout of over 2,500 participants during its two-day hybrid event. Themed “Venture Forward: Game Changing through Innovation,” the forum convened 80 global visionary venture experts, entrepreneurial pioneers, and influential thinkers. With more than 120,000 page views and over 300 fundraising meetings facilitated, it solidified its position as a pivotal platform fostering networking and collaborative opportunities.
In a significant stride towards technological innovation and sustainable development, the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have joined forces to revolutionise India’s construction and wastewater treatment sectors.
This pioneering collaboration under the “Access to Knowledge for Technology Development and Dissemination (A2K+) Studies” Scheme of DSIR is aimed at aligning with India’s Smart Cities Mission and its ambitious commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.
DSIR’s allocation of two crucial research studies to TERI signifies a pivotal step in bridging the informational gap on advanced building materials, designs for energy efficiency, and the assessment of membrane-based sewage wastewater treatment systems for reuse and recycling.
A significant milestone in this partnership was marked by a high-profile Stakeholder Consultant Meeting held at the prestigious India Habitat Center in New Delhi. Attended by key decision-makers, esteemed experts from academia, industry leaders, and policymakers, this event became a platform for insightful discussions and collaborations.
Dr Sujata Chaklanobis, Scientist ‘G’ and Head of A2K+ Studies at DSIR, emphasised the importance of promoting industrial research for indigenous technology development, utilisation, and transfer in her address. Her words underscored the crucial role of research and innovation in fostering sustainable technological advancements.
Mr Sanjay Seth, Senior Director of TERI’s Sustainable Infrastructure Programme highlighted India’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2070. He stressed the imperative integration of cutting-edge technologies and innovative designs in buildings to significantly reduce energy consumption, a key step towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.
The first session of the consultation centred on leveraging emerging technologies and innovative solutions for advanced building design to enhance energy efficiency. Experts from various domains provided insightful suggestions and information, fostering dialogue on energy-efficient building designs and sustainable construction practices.
The second session delved into the current status and prospects of membrane technologies in India for sewage treatment. Insights from academia, including professors from prestigious institutions, shed light on research gaps and opportunities for commercialisation in the domain of membrane-based technologies.
Industry experts also provided valuable perspectives on the current membrane market, innovations, and opportunities, creating a comprehensive understanding of the landscape and paving the way for future developments.
The amalgamation of insights from academia, industry, and end-users enriched the discussions, providing a roadmap for future innovation and development in these critical sectors. The event culminated with a commitment from both DSIR and TERI to embark on an innovation journey, heralding a sustainable and resilient future for India.
The DSIR-TERI collaborative consultation stands as a beacon of transformative progress in advancing sustainable building practices and sewage treatment technologies. It underscores the power of partnership in driving technological evolution for a more sustainable tomorrow.
India’s ambitions intertwine technological progress with a steadffast commitment to sustainability, envisioning a future where innovation not only drives economic growth but also champions environmental stewardship.
Through strategic initiatives and cooperation, India aims to leverage cutting-edge technologies to address pressing global challenges, ensuring a harmonious balance between technological advancement, environmental preservation, and societal well-being.
NITI Aayog, in collaboration with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, initiated the India Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE) Accelerator under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to bolster circular economy startups from both countries, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) and the African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) jointly organised an international training programme, focused on exploring the application of nanotechnology in promoting plant growth and crop protection for sustainable agriculture.
According to an IIT-Kanpur statement, the programme served as a forum for experts from diverse fields to discuss and deliberate on solutions to meet the urgent global challenge of achieving food security and promoting sustainability in agriculture.
The Indonesian government actively strives to implement thematic Bureaucratic Reform (RB) directly addressing societal issues. Minister of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB) Abdullah Azwar Anas emphasised that innovation is one way to realise impactful bureaucracy.
To create impactful bureaucracy through innovation, the PANRB Ministry, which oversees public services, encourages local governments to replicate innovations through the Public Service Innovation Replication Forum (FRIPP). This is done to expand the reach of inventions and make them an integral part of the Bureaucratic Reform effort. The PANRB Ministry, as the overseer of public services, pays special attention to the steps local governments take in implementing innovations in public service delivery.
The Public Service Innovation Replication Forum (FRIPP) is a platform for local governments to share and discuss their experiences adopting specific innovations. By sharing best practices and learnings, local governments can gain valuable insights to enhance the quality of public services at the local level.
Furthermore, Abdullah Azwar Anas emphasised that inter-government collaboration is critical to building an innovative and positively impactful bureaucracy. “Through FRIPP, we encourage local governments to inspire and adopt innovations that have proven to provide real benefits to the community,” said Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas.
As previously reported by OpenGov Asia, the PANRB Ministry, along with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Administrative Agency (LAN), successfully launched the National Public Service Innovation Network (JIPPNas) website as a knowledge management system and the national database for public service innovations.
JIPPNas represents a concrete step in building an innovation ecosystem at the national level. This platform allows local governments to share ideas, projects, and innovative solutions in delivering public services. With this platform, other local governments can easily access and adopt innovations, accelerating the spread of best practices.
“Therefore, the presence of JIPPNas is expected to be an effort to grow new public service models through collaboration to achieve the future government,” said Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas.
In the discourse of Future Government, Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas outlined four main focus areas of the Thematic Bureaucratic Reform, which serve as the foundation for ambitious goals: poverty alleviation, increased investment, digitisation of government administration, and accelerating the current President’s priorities. Emphasis on these areas is crucial to ensuring that the bureaucracy is an effective and efficient driving force in realising the government’s vision and mission.
Minister Anas stressed the importance of a prime bureaucratic condition as a foundation to achieve the desired goals. Like a machine that must be well-maintained, the bureaucracy is directed to be able to drive the “vehicle” of the government towards the desired direction. Thus, the success of implementing the Thematic Bureaucratic Reform involves not only structural transformation but also upholding the quality and readiness of the bureaucracy as the primary driver of development.
Addressing Future Governance or Governance 5.0, Minister Anas detailed a significant paradigm shift. The “government regulating society” transitions to “Government working together with society,” or more precisely, considering society as a partner. This concept marks an evolution in how the government interacts with society, creating closer and more inclusive collaboration.
The importance of support from strategic partners such as Indonesia Infrastructure Project Governance (IIPG) is also highlighted. As a supporter of public governance reform, IIPG significantly contributes to maintaining synergy and harmonisation of roles across multi-sectors, both from the private and public sectors. This synergy is crucial in maintaining optimal performance and achieving public governance reform goals.
In line with the paradigm shift and focus on reform, these steps mark the government’s severe efforts to build a foundation for an adaptive, responsive, and actively engaged Future Government. Thematic Bureaucratic Reform is not just about structural transformation but also an effort to create a governance ecosystem capable of meeting the challenges and demands of the times effectively and competitively.
The 21st century is frequently called the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), prompting questions about its societal implications. It actively transforms numerous processes across various domains, and research ethics (RE) is no exception. Multiple challenges, encompassing accountability, privacy, and openness, are emerging.
Research Ethics Boards (REBs) have been instituted to guarantee adherence to ethical standards throughout research. This scoping review seeks to illuminate the challenges posed by AI in research ethics and assess the preparedness of REBs in evaluating these challenges. Ethical guidelines and standards for AI development and deployment are essential to address these concerns.
To sustain this awareness, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a part of the Department of Energy, has joined the Trillion Parameter Consortium (TPC), a global collaboration of scientists, researchers, and industry professionals. The consortium aimed to address the challenges of building large-scale artificial intelligence (AI) systems and advancing trustworthy and reliable AI for scientific discovery.
ORNL’s collaboration with TPC aligns seamlessly with its commitment to developing secure, reliable, and energy-efficient AI, complementing the consortium’s emphasis on responsible AI. With over 300 researchers utilising AI to address Department of Energy challenges and hosting the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Frontier, ORNL is well-equipped to significantly contribute to the consortium’s objectives.
Leveraging its AI research and extensive resources, the laboratory will be crucial in addressing challenges such as constructing large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering problems. Specific tasks include creating scalable model architectures, implementing effective training strategies, organising and curating data for model training, optimising AI libraries for exascale computing platforms, and evaluating progress in scientific task learning, reliability, and trust.
TPC strives to build an open community of researchers developing advanced large-scale generative AI models for scientific and engineering progress. The consortium plans to voluntarily initiate, manage, and coordinate projects to prevent redundancy and enhance impact. Additionally, TPC seeks to establish a global network of resources and expertise to support the next generation of AI, uniting researchers focused on large-scale AI applications in science and engineering.
Prasanna Balaprakash, ORNL R&D staff scientist and director of the lab’s AI Initiative, said, “ORNL envisions being a critical resource for the consortium and is committed to ensuring the future of AI across the scientific spectrum.”
Further, as an international organisation that supports education, science, and culture, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has established ten principles of AI ethics regarding scientific research.
- Beneficence: AI systems should be designed to promote the well-being of individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Non-maleficence: AI systems should avoid causing harm to individuals, communities, and the environment.
- Autonomy: Individuals should have the right to control their data and to make their own decisions about how AI systems are used.
- Justice: AI systems should be designed to be fair, equitable, and inclusive.
- Transparency: AI systems’ design, operation, and outcomes should be transparent and explainable.
- Accountability: There should be clear lines of responsibility for developing, deploying, and using AI systems.
- Privacy: The privacy of individuals should be protected when data is collected, processed, and used by AI systems.
- Data security: Data used by AI systems should be secure and protected from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.
- Human oversight: AI systems should be subject to human management and control.
- Social and environmental compatibility: AI systems should be designed to be compatible with social and ecological values.
Since 1979, ORNL’s AI research has gained a portfolio with the launch of the Oak Ridge Applied Artificial Intelligence Project to ensure the alignment of UNESCO principles. Today, the AI Initiative focuses on developing secure, trustworthy, and energy-efficient AI across various applications, showcasing the laboratory’s commitment to advancing AI in fields ranging from biology to national security. The collaboration with TPC reinforces ORNL’s dedication to driving breakthroughs in large-scale scientific AI, aligning with the world agenda in implementing AI ethics.
The Chief Dental Officer of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Associate Prof Chng Chai Kiat highlighted their role in fostering collaboration, exploring innovation and propelling oral health into the future. Digitalisation, a key element of this transformation, takes centre stage providing a vibrant space for scientists to delve into technological advancements shaping the future of oral health.
Over the next few days, 60 local and international speakers will unravel cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), digital dentistry, biomaterials, orofacial devices, therapeutics, and more.
Oral diseases, affecting 3.5 billion globally, not only compromise health but also pose a substantial economic burden. In Singapore, the 2019/2020 National Adult Oral Health Survey revealed high prevalence rates, emphasising the need for effective strategies.
Assoc Prof Chng underlined the significance of oral health surveillance studies, crucial for policymaking and health system planning, while research becomes a driver for innovation in delivering quality oral care.
Population health takes precedence, aligning with Singapore’s healthcare reform through the Healthier SG initiative. The ageing population becomes a focal point, prompting the need for preventive care to ensure good oral health. Population oral health studies become instrumental in understanding responses to interventions across generations, contributing to effective policymaking.
A notable endeavour is the SG70 cohort study, “Towards Healthy Longevity,” integrating oral health research into mainstream public health initiatives. Led by the National University of Singapore, it examines the effects of biological, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors on healthy ageing. A representative sample of 3,000 Singaporeans aged 70 and older will be followed for the next 10 to 15 years.
Digital dentistry solutions take a leap forward with the ongoing development of a clinically integrated workflow to produce removable partial dentures efficiently. Spearheaded by SingHealth-Duke NUS Medical School, this research proposal employs 3D dental prosthesis printing, biomaterials, and regenerative dentistry, catering to the oral needs of an ageing population.
Industry collaboration has become integral, and a noteworthy example is the development of an antiseptic mouth rinse with anti-viral properties. Originating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study by the National Dental Centre Singapore has successfully partnered with a homegrown oral care brand, showcasing a synergy between oral health research expertise and industry knowledge.
Digital dentistry solutions have revolutionised dental practices by offering precision, efficiency, and enhanced patient experiences. Utilising advanced technologies such as intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM systems, these solutions ensure precise measurements and accurate diagnoses.
Digital workflows streamline traditional processes, significantly reducing chair time and enabling same-day restorations. This benefits practitioners in terms of time efficiency and enhances the overall patient experience, as digital impressions replace traditional materials, providing a more comfortable and less intrusive procedure.
Customisation and aesthetics are paramount in modern dentistry, and digital tools like CAD/CAM systems allow for the creation of highly customised dental prosthetics tailored to individual patient anatomy. The precise colour-matching capabilities of digital technologies contribute to restorations that closely resemble natural teeth, achieving superior aesthetic outcomes.
Additionally, improved communication between dental professionals is facilitated through digital platforms, enabling seamless collaboration on multidisciplinary cases. The ease of sharing digital records with laboratories, specialists, and other team members fosters better coordination in delivering comprehensive patient care.
Beyond the immediate benefits, digital dentistry offers long-term advantages such as cost-effectiveness, as reduced material costs and increased efficiency offset initial investments.
The accessibility and secure storage of digital patient records contribute to better continuity of care, while ongoing technological advancements, including the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, ensure that dental practices remain at the forefront of emerging trends.
Hence, digital dentistry has become an essential component of modern dental care, providing practitioners with tools to deliver high-quality, patient-centred services in a technologically advanced environment.
Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, spoke at two influential tech events: the Indian Express Digifraud & Safety Summit 2023 and YourStory Techsparks’23. His engagements centred around India’s technological advancements, regulatory policies, and the nation’s promising future in the global tech landscape.
At these tech summits, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar outlined India’s ambitious technological trajectory, reinforcing the government’s dedication to fostering innovation, ensuring a safe digital environment, and harnessing the transformative power of technology for the nation’s progress.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar articulated India’s journey in artificial intelligence (AI) and emphasised the government’s commitment to fostering innovation and the startup ecosystem. He expressed the government’s profound interest in further boosting India’s burgeoning startup landscape.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar noted India’s transition from an unrestricted, eternally optimistic view of technology and the internet to a more nuanced approach. He highlighted the government’s aim to strike a balance between fostering innovation and growth while guaranteeing distinct rights for digital citizens.
The Minister emphasised the evolution from the phase of transforming India to the concept of ‘New India’ and now envisions witnessing the emergence of ‘Viksit Bharat’. He expanded on India’s transformation which resonated with the Prime Minister’s vision to raise India to a developed nation status, aiming to elevate the nation to the position of the world’s third-largest economy.
Highlighting the government’s initiatives, Minister Chandrasekhar stated, “Our focus is on startups, innovation, and funding, creating a computing infrastructure. In January, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi agreed to establish a significant amount of GPU capacity in India for startups to access and bring forth their innovation and foundational models.”
He advocated for decentralising the startup landscape, encouraging the emergence of successful ventures from various regions across India. “We want unicorns and successful startups to come from Meerut, Ghaziabad, Kohima, Srinagar, Kottayam, Belgaum, Dharwad, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, and beyond,” he asserted, confirming the nation’s commitment to fostering innovation in diverse cities.
Addressing concerns about internet regulation and safety, the Minister explained the government’s evolved approach, focusing on ensuring safety and trust for digital citizens while holding platforms accountable. He clarified that “safety and trust are not for the Government; rather, they are initiatives aimed at safeguarding the vast majority of Digital Nagriks”.
Reflecting on his participation in the UK AI Summit, Minister Chandrasekhar underscored India’s commitment to a safe and trusted internet, aligning with the government’s guiding principles since 2021.
“We want the internet to be safe and trusted; it is an article of faith. We also aim for platforms to be legally accountable,” he reiterated.
He highlighted the need to embrace AI’s potential while managing risks, warning against a narrative that diminishes its innovation. The Minister emphasised that avoiding the overshadowing of AI’s benefits by its perceived risks is crucial for the digital economy and the populace.
“We don’t seek to demonise AI; rather, it’s vital to maintain a balance so that the discourse on its risks doesn’t eclipse its potential advantages,” he explains, clarifying India’s approach to artificial intelligence.
OpenGov Asia provided coverage of India’s expanding global influence, highlighting the country’s leadership roles across diverse international platforms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced the Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR) and a Social Impact Fund (SIF). The GDPIR will be used for sharing information and best practices and the SIF is designed to advance Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI).
He unveiled the schemes during the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. Chaired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the G20 Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) has played a key role in progressing the global DPI agenda.