Image: Training disabled communities from 8 provinces, April 2017 (Credit: HOTOSM Indonesia Twitter Page)
Some of the most vulnerable communities in the world do not exist on any map. They are literally invisible. They are the ones to bear the brunt of disasters and diseases. In the aftermath, relief efforts are unable to reach them.
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), a US-based non-profit organisation, trains and equips people to map their communities, to make visible the places where they live.
Working with a global community of thousands of volunteers, HOT leverages technology and applies the principles of open source and open data sharing to create maps vital for humanitarian response and economic development. Its global partners include American Red Cross, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Department of State, Peace Corps, the World Bank and more.
HOT has been present in Indonesia since 2011. OpenGov spoke to Mr. Yantisa Akhadi about HOT’s activities in Indonesia and how the organisation is working with national and local disaster management agencies. Mr. Akhadi joined the HOT team in 2013 as the project lead. Currently, he manages the HOT Indonesia team and its projects.
HOT Indonesia had two major ongoing projects. The first one is to strengthen the capacity of the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana or BNPB). BNPB considers 136 districts or cities to be disaster-prone districts. They are considered to be at high risk for multiple types of disasters. The goal is to have maps for all 136 of these districts, before disaster strikes, to have enough data and use it for better response.
This project is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia Initially it was AUSAID, but AUSAID was dissolved and merged back into DFAT. Now it is under DMInnovation (Disaster Management Innovation). DMI is managed by the Australian embassy in Indonesia and is responsible for scientific implementation and exploring how science can help decision-makers during disaster management.
In the second project , HOT is collaborating on a USAID, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) funded programme together with the University of Hawaii: Pacific Disaster Centre (PDC) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): PetaBencana to support BNPB. It is focused on the development of InAWARE, a disaster management tool, to improve overall risk assessment, early-warning, and disaster-management decision making in Indonesia, at both national and provincial levels. InAWARE was initially launched in 2013. In 2016, a second phase was approved, focusing on the enhancement of crowdsourced data derived by the PetaBencana tool and the collection of key data by HOT in Jakarta and Surabaya for incorporation into InAWARE.
This involves the mapping of Jakarta and Surabaya, including the development of a comprehensive geospatial base data for disaster risk including administrative boundaries, building footprints, road networks, and disaster vulnerability characteristics. Mr. Akhadi said, “We just finished mapping Surabaya earlier this year. And now we have moved to Jakarta and we will map the entire city, all the critical infrastructure as well as sub-village boundaries.”
In this second phase, the interoperability between InAWARE and InaSAFE (free software that produces realistic natural hazard impact scenarios developed under DMInnovation) is also being enhanced.
Data during disasters
The data is used by local as well as national disaster management agencies for effective disaster mitigation. They use it to find areas to focus their logistics on. For example, deciding evacuation routes, places to designate for the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp.
Having good mapping data, with information such as population distribution, is crucial for good decisions. In its absence, the disaster management agencies might make a decision that may even endanger the population.
Other potential uses of mapping data- tracking diseases, corruption
HOT has enabled the use of data for purposes such as disease control in other parts of the world. We asked Mr. Akhadi if there are similar plans for Indonesia. He replied, “We have some plans for that. We are working with the Indonesian Ministry of Health and some other NGOs which work in Indonesia, such as MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors Without Borders) for a project they are planning in west Java.”
During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, HOT helped map the remote areas. Initially the health responders could not reach areas where there were suspected Ebola cases. They didn’t know which village was it or the directions to get there.
We also asked if HOT is contributing the One Map policy. Currently, it isn’t. But there are ongoing discussions with the National Mapping Agency (Badan Informasi Geospasial or BIG) on how HOT’s data can complement the One Map policy.
HOT is also engaged in talks with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to find out how the two can collaborate on WRI’s One Map initiative in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
HOT is collaborating with Indonesia Corruption Watch, helping them map all the government procurement information. Initially the data existed only in spreadsheet format. Now HOT is working towards visualising the data for easier analysis. This can help them to identify corruption cases. For example, if there is a tender to build a hospital, HOT knows the location of the hospital and can possibly track the progress of development, ensuring that the hospital is actually built.
Data collection, processing and verification
The first step in mapping an area is a ‘mapathon’. All the buildings and roads in the area are digitised using satellite imagery.
The next phase is to go to the area, and the local community and adding attributes for the buildings and the roads, like the names of the roads and the type of the building, identifying if it is a hospital, a government office or any other object that might be critical during emergency response.
During this second phase, multiple tools are used for capturing the information directly on the ground. Tools range from smartphones to physical forms, paper and pen. But before this data collection can be done, HOT conducts training for around 3 days for local responders, teaching them how they can collect the data and use the data for their own purposes.
There are steps to validate whether the mapping has been done correctly. Mr. Akhadi said, “We need to clean the data to ensure that there are no errors. For the validation, we need to work with local communities because they know better if certain attributes are correct, if like the naming of a road section is correct or not.”
OpenGov had reported on PetaBencana.id, a crowdsourcing platform for real-time reporting on flood information. We asked Mr. Akhadi about such information submitted by users via social media is verified. PetaBencana is one of HOT’s partners. OpenStreetMap (OSM) is used as the base map by PetaBencana. They are also using the sub-village boundaries demarcated by HOT. If people report that their area is flooded and water is at a height of this many centimetres, then the Petabencana bot will respond and ask for more information, such as photographs, and questions like whether you are in that location currently, or you are reporting on flood in an area you just passed by. There is an internal validation mechanism as well. But the information will always be validated before it is placed on the map.
Keeping maps updated
We asked how frequently is the information updated once an area has been mapped. Mr. Akhadi responded that it is highly dependent on the local community. HOT focuses on capacity development, like training and teaching people on how to use the platform. But HOT does not necessarily maintain the information though it sometimes does spot validation or verification.
Mr. Akhadi gave the example of a university In Makassar, where a lecturer is using OSM as part of his curriculum. He teaches students how to do the mapping and requires them to map 500 buildings and 100 roads in their vicinity. It needs to be an area they are already familiar with. Effectively, the lecturer is training them to be the maintainer of the data in their own area. If there is a local partner such as a university, then there is high probability that the data will be kind of maintained.
It is about keeping the local community engaged and motivated. Mr. Akhaidi elaborated, “The key to the motivation is we need to listen to what is their need with regards to spatial data. Recently like we just did the Surabaya mapping and then we did workshops for local university as well as local government officials. Now they have good, complete data for their own city. Then we teach them how to use the data, hoping that if they can see the benefits of the map, then they will be motivated to keep that updated because they are already part of the user base of the data.”
HOT keeps versions of all objects in the maps. The first time a building is created in an area it is version 1. If other people modify the building, maybe making it more detailed or moving it to different location that will be version 2. If there is any intentional or inadvertent vandalism, through deletion of objects, the maps can be reverted back to the initial condition.
If a user starts deleting data without any good reason, then usually it gets reported to the data working group, which handles disputes.
“80% of the disputes happen because people do not realise that they are damaging the data. They think that they are deleting the data from their own map. They just need to be reminded and contacted and told that they made a mistake. Meanwhile, all the data in OSM has its own versions. We can simply revert to the earlier version. It is like an undo button. Missing buildings can be switched back on”, said Mr. Akhadi.
Working with government agencies and training government officials
HOT works with BNPB at the national level and BPBDs or the local disaster management agencies at the province and district levels. In Indonesia, each province, district and cities have their own legally mandated BPBD. The BPBDs report to the local leadership. For example, in the provinces they report to the governor. At the district or city level they report to the mayor. They also have a vertical link to the BNPB, which comes into play if the disaster consists of more than one province, district or city.
Mr. Akhadi outlined two challenges with training government officials in Indonesia. First is the staff rotation. Once a government staff is trained, they might be suddenly moved to another division, where there is no application for their acquired mapping expertise. Secondly, sometimes there is no political willingness to use the new skill. The senior leadership might think that there is no need to use the skill and ask subordinates to focus on their regular job.
HOT is now focusing on improving the capacity of universities. If local governments need to collect data on the ground, they can work with the university and the university can direct its students. The student will also benefit from being exposed to how the data is being collected and used for government activities.
Why use HOT OpenStreet Maps, when there are commercial mapping platforms?
The main benefit of OpenStreetMap (OSM) is its Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL). The license enables anyone, from individuals to big corporations, to use the data, even for commercial purposes. There are no limitations, as long they provide attribution.
HOT is a pioneer in some of the remote areas where there is no existing good spatial data. Commercial maps have not mapped in those areas before. Also, the national mapping agency, BIG, might not have local representatives in those areas.
In OSM it is also possible to capture specific data, such as downloading all the hospital locations in Jakarta. It cannot be done using other mapping platforms.
In others, users can only search the hospitals, and they cannot download the results. In OSM it is possible to download the data for each of the hospitals.
In mapmaking programmes on other platforms, there are limitations on how much data you can add depending on the level of access. If you are at admin level then you may add more objects and more attributes, compared to if you just recently signed on. While in OSM everyone can contribute all kinds of information, based on knowledge of their own area.
Mr. Akhadi said that their main challenge even now is introducing people to the OSM platform. There remains a lot of unrealised potential, which HOT will work to unlock, continuing to collaborate with local communities and disaster management agencies and finding innovative uses of mapping data.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the launch of a S$5 million Virtual Production Innovation Fund to support the local media industry in developing the capabilities needed to harness virtual production technology to maintain the local media industry’s competitiveness as the international partner of choice to create premium IP.
To enable the camera to capture actors and visual effects in real time, virtual production technology uses LED panels to produce realistic background landscapes for television or movie sequences driven by video game engines. The site, road closures, location costs, permits, weather, set construction, and space rental will no longer be necessary for production.
With the help of technology, Singapore has a rare chance to get over some of its physical constraints, like the lack of suitable locations for on-location filming and room for large sets.
The ability of the storytellers to reproduce historical sites or any other environment will allow them to generate content that was previously impossible. This will revolutionise the creative process of storytelling.
The adoption of virtual production by the media sector is further encouraged by the strong signals emanating from international media giants that this technology will be widely employed in the creation of movies and television shows and will become the standard in the next years.
To strengthen capabilities in virtual production and ensure that the media companies and talent can keep up with international production methods to remain competitive, IMDA will pursue a two-pronged strategy to prepare the media sector for the future.
The National Film and Television School (NFTS) in the UK has collaborated with IMDA to adapt the school’s Certificate in Virtual Production course to the requirements of the sector to train media professionals to use this technology.
From December 2022 to April 2023, fifteen professors, trainers, and media professionals from Singapore will participate in virtual lectures and undergo hands-on training at NFTS’s virtual production facilities.
Over the course of the following 12 months, several masterclasses and workshops given by professionals from the business will be offered. A Singapore-based firm that specialises in developing immersive experiences, held a display to exhibit how virtual production can enhance imaginative storytelling.
Hands-on demonstrations will be given by guest speakers from virtual production leaders. They will discuss and explore best practices in the workflow to inventive ways to use different technology in storytelling.
Local businesses can also test out virtual production to realise their creative ideas for brief pieces of content, such as music videos, short films, and brand advertisements, among others. Companies can submit their suggested content concepts from now until February 15, 2023.
The capacity to best utilise virtual production technologies to realise a project’s creative vision will be taken into consideration while evaluating proposals.
Additionally, IMDA is working to organise an industry challenge with an internationally renowned gaming company. This challenge will encourage organisations to experiment with and use the cutting-edge real-time 3D creation tool developed by this gaming company. Currently, the aforementioned tool powers globally popular video games.
Teams whose concepts are shortlisted will receive personalised coaching and training from the gaming company. In addition, they will receive prize money from IMDA to assist with content creation.
Since virtual production technology has advanced in recent years, the country is now able to produce visual effects in real-time without building actual sets, thereby overcoming the constraints of scale, complexity, and space.
India will Chair the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), an international initiative to support the responsible and human-centric development and use of artificial intelligence (AI).
The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Rajeev Chandrasekhar, represented India virtually at the GPAI meeting held in Tokyo for the symbolic takeover from France, which is the outgoing Council Chair.
Chandrasekhar stated that the country would work in close cooperation with member states to put in place a framework to fully exploit the power of AI for the good of consumers across the globe. This means ensuring there are adequate guardrails to prevent misuse and user harm.
According to the Minister, India is building an ecosystem of modern cyber laws and frameworks based on three principles: openness, safety, and trust and accountability. With a National Programme on AI and National Data Governance Framework Policy (NDGFP) in place as well as one of the world’s largest publicly accessible datasets programmes in the works, the Minister reiterated India’s commitment to using AI to catalyse innovation and create good, trusted applications.
The NDGFP strives to ensure equitable access to non-personal data and improve institutional frameworks for government data sharing, promote principles around privacy and security by design, and encourage the use of anonymisation tools. It also aims to standardise the way the government collects and manages data. The NDGFP along with an envisaged Indian Data Management Office (IDMO) shall catalyse the next-gen AI and data-led research and startup ecosystem.
Through the datasets programmes, anonymised non-personal data will be available for the entire AI ecosystem. The AI market globally was nearly US$ 59.67 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.4% to reach around US$ 422.37 billion by 2028. With the rapid growth of AI and machine learning (ML), experts predict that most businesses will shift to AI-powered systems, apps, security systems, data analysis, and other applications in the future. AI is expected to add US$ 967 billion to India’s economy by 2035 and US$ 450–500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025, accounting for 10% of the country’s US $5 trillion GDP target.
A government official outlined India’s priorities as Chair GPAI next year, stating that the country would focus on promoting greater involvement of the global south in the conversation regarding the use of AI for solving societal problems. The country has also emphasised the need for the responsible and ethical use of AI.
GPAI is a congregation of 25 member countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore. In 2020, India joined the group as a founding member. It is a first-of-its-type initiative that aims to better understand the challenges and opportunities around AI. It works in collaboration with partners and international organisations, leading experts from industry, civil society, governments, and academia. These stakeholders collaborate to promote the responsible evolution of AI and guide the development and use of the technology, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) recently announced that a PolyU-supported start-up has successfully developed the Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens for controlling the progression of myopia (or short-sightedness).
The start-up collaborated with the State Key Laboratory of Ultra-precision Machining Technology (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) (SKL-UPMT) and the School of Optometry of PolyU to create the new solution by integrating DISC technology and Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology, offering children and adolescents a convenient, non-invasive and effective option to delay myopia progression.
PolyU holds the patents for both DISC technology and Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology. The launch of the Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens signifies the University’s long-term commitment to driving research and innovation and its continuous effort in facilitating knowledge transfer and research commercialisation by supporting cutting-edge technology start-ups.
PolyU’s School of Optometry invented the novel DISC technology, which is proven to retard the myopia progression of children by 60%. The method produces a clear image on the retina and a defocused or blurred image in front of the retina simultaneously, enabling children to have clear vision while controlling the development of myopia. Based on this technology, the DISC-SH soft contact lens was introduced in 2018.
The Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology, developed by SKL-UPMT, merges advanced optics design, ultra-precision machining and ultra-precision measurement technologies, and ultra-precision mould-making to apply DISC technology in spectacle lens production. By employing an ultra-precision process, the new spectacle lens provides added comfort for wearers, while offering more stable vision. The non-invasive design also makes it more suitable for children of different ages.
The Visiting Chair Professor of the School of Optometry of PolyU and Co-founder of the start-up noted that the partnership with SKL-UPMT and the School of Optometry to launch the new Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens resulted in a breakthrough in DISC technology. This initiative helps address the spiralling myopia problem among children, especially in markets with a relatively high ratio of myopes such as Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China.
The Professor of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Director of SKL-UPMT at PolyU stated that ultra-precision machining technology is a multi-disciplinary advanced manufacturing technology, which is the backbone of crucial industries like optometry, semiconductors, advanced optics, aerospace, energy, biomedical and new materials development.
He noted that SKL-UPMT is at the forefront of the development and application of technologies and have a proven track record in designing and implementing new methods, process, systems and facilities in ultra-precision machining and ultra-precision measurement.
The locally developed Ultra-precision Nano Multi-rings Machining Technology was extended to fine-tune and manufacture optometric products and will continue to create new technologies and solutions for diverse industries to benefit society. In doing so, Hong Kong and mainland China’s competence and strategic advantages in design and advanced manufacturing will be furthered, he said.
The Nano Multi-rings Defocus Incorporated Lens is expected to be rolled out in Hong Kong and mainland China soon. The company will continue collaborating with PolyU to develop new myopia control products based on DISC technology to protect the vision health of children and adolescents.
Founded by PolyU’s professor and alumni, the start-up has received financial support from the PolyU Micro Fund and the PolyU Tech Launchpad Fund. In 2018, the company secured a licence from PolyU for commercialising DISC technology, which the start-up manufactures and distributes DISC lenses at its authorised optometric clinics and fitting centres.
Four industry titans in technology have been given contracts for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), according to the Department of Defense (DoD) of the U.S.
JWCC is a multiple-award contract vehicle that will give the DoD the chance to obtain commercial cloud capabilities and services directly from the commercial Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) at the pace of mission, at all classification levels, from the corporate headquarters to the tactical edge.
With this Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, cloud services can be provided more quickly and at commercial cost, if not better.
The following capabilities will now be available to warfighters under a single contract thanks to JWCC: global accessibility, readily available and resilient services, centralised management and distributed control, usability, commercial parity, elastic computing, storage, and network infrastructure, advanced data analytics, fortified security, and tactical edge devices.
Those interested in knowing more about JWCC, register for the JWCC Customer Portal or contact the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), can visit this website.
To make cloud purchasing, provisioning, and onboarding simpler for DoD clients, DISA has created user-friendly cloud accelerators.
In addition, the DoD MIIs build a national network of public-private partnerships, establish an industrial common for manufacturing R&D, and advance workforce education and development while accelerating new technologies using federal funding combined with matching investment from academia, industry, and state governments.
The network strategically coordinates resources to solve important technologies and create interconnected manufacturing systems by marshalling the greatest talent from around the nation. The nine MIIs supported by the DoD are under the direction of ManTech, the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program.
Finding industry partners, including small enterprises, that have cutting-edge technology that could help the warfighter is essential to the DOD MII mission. DoD makes investments in these sectors of advanced manufacturing through the MIIs.
Conversations with some research institutes earlier this year shed light on how the DoD and the country are benefiting from the pace of technology.
Combining silicon integrated circuits with semiconductor lasers is known as silicon photonics – a speciality of the American Institute of Manufacturing — Integrated Photonics.
Compared to conventional electronics, this technology allows for faster data transfer over greater distances while making use of the advantages of high-volume silicon production.
COVID sensors are some of the most fascinating applications for photonics. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provided funding for sensors that can identify COVID-19 from a drop of blood in less than a minute.
In various sensor regions of the chip, there are proteins linked to SARS-CoV-2 and eight other viruses. Antibodies to those viruses will bind to the proteins in a blood sample and be found if a person has been exposed to any of the viruses.
On the other hand, additive manufacturing creates parts that can be formed of ceramics, rubber, metal, plastic, rubber, and polymers. The ability of the military to build parts additively improves its capacity for swift and agile operations, particularly in hostile circumstances.
The qualification and certification of processes and materials are other areas of emphasis for some manufacturers. The primary obstacle to manufacturers fully embracing additive manufacturing is a lack of training and certification.
The manufacturing sector also examines how the supply chain’s capacity compares to the need for components made additively.
Together, these initiatives are assisting the U.S. in strengthening its manufacturing sector and taking the lead in global competitiveness.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras) have developed an ocean wave energy converter that can generate electricity from sea waves. The team successfully concluded the trials for the device in the second week of November.
According to a statement by IIT-Madras, the device was deployed about 6 kilometres off the coast of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, and around 20 metres deep. It targets generating 1 megawatt of power from ocean waves within the next three years. The product has been named Sindhuja-I, which means ‘generated from the ocean.’
The system has a floating buoy, a spar, and an electrical module. The buoy moves up and down as the wave moves up and down. In the present design, the buoy has a central hole that allows a long rod called a spar to pass through it. The spar can be fixed to the seabed, and passing waves will not affect it, the buoy moves up and down and produces relative motion between them. This relative motion is used by an electric generator to produce power. In the present design, the spar floats, and a mooring chain keeps the system in place.
The project will help achieve several objectives, including goals set in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and India’s targets to carry out deep-water missions, promote clean energy, and achieve a blue economy. The project could help India meet its climate change-related goals of generating 500 gigawatts of electricity by 2030 through renewable energy.
The device will be deployed in remote offshore locations, which require reliable electricity and communication either by supplying electric power to payloads that are integrated directly in or on the device or located in its vicinity as on the seabed and in the water column. Targeted stakeholders are the oil and gas, defence and security installations, and communications sectors.
A faculty member from IIT-Madras who has been working on wave energy for over a decade, Abdus Samad, led the mission. He established a state-of-the-art Wave Energy and Fluids Engineering Laboratory (WEFEL) at the Institute. His team designed and tested a scaled-down model. The lab is also researching other applications for this technology such as producing power for smaller devices for the ocean like navigational buoys and data buoys, among others.
Samad explained that India has a 7,500-kilometre-long coastline capable of producing 54 gigawatts of power, satisfying a substantial amount of the country’s energy requirements. Seawater stores tidal, wave, and ocean thermal energy. Among them, harnessing 40 gigawatts of wave energy is possible in India, he said. Efficacy-wise, it can be installed anywhere within 10 to 6,000 metres of water depth. It’s not dependent on bathymetry, does not harm sea life, includes no digging of the sea bed and is easily deployable, and portable. This will generate power around the clock, with almost negligible battery storage. Samad said it would be an excellent choice for sea surveillance, offshore desalination, coral reef regeneration, offshore communication, and drone charging/underwater vehicle charging.
Even single devices in different locations along the Indian coastline can generate large quantities of clean power. The team is contemplating placing multiple devices in an array configuration for maximum wave power extraction from the location, Samad noted. Their vision is to make India sustainable by tapping marine energy and net-zero carbon emissions to mitigate climate impact.
In a bid to establish itself as a global mRNA vaccine hub, The Queensland government has partnered with a leading healthcare company to establish a world-first research centre in Brisbane. The AU$280 million Translational Science Hub will be established under an agreement between the company, the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Queensland Government.
The state’s Premier noted that Queensland will be the only jurisdiction in Australia to have a centre like this. She said that the Translational Science Hub will give them the platform to develop life-saving vaccines.
The Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development said the new Hub would help drive the development of new vaccines and healthcare solutions across the world. Through the Translational Science Hub, Queensland scientists will collaborate with global peers in the US and France on ground-breaking mRNA technology and vaccine development.
The Hub will bring more expertise, supply-chain capabilities, as well as clinical investigations to Queensland. It is expected to create up to 200 jobs for Queenslanders and strengthen the region’s biomanufacturing supply chain. mRNA technology is expected to deliver a new generation of vaccines that instruct certain cells to produce proteins that are recognised by the immune system to mount a defence.
The Minister for Science stated that Queensland is being recognised as a global research and innovation hub thanks to the government’s investment in state-of-the-art research facilities, talent attraction and partnerships between industry, academia and government.
She said that the agreement will make Queensland science even more competitive by accelerating the commercialisation of local research by linking university partners with a global industry leader to evaluate and develop new health technologies.
The government is also investing AU$17 million in the state budget to provide significant support to foster partnerships between universities and industry and accelerate the commercial application of major research being conducted in the state.
The Translational Science Hub in Queensland will work closely with the healthcare firm’s mRNA Centre of Excellence in France and the US to accelerate a new era of vaccine innovation, the firm’s Global Head of Vaccine Research and Development said.
The Vice-Chancellor and President, Griffith University, stated that Griffith is delighted to be part of the partnership building on the strengths and capabilities of the University’s existing biomedical leadership. The University’s researchers are internationally recognised for bringing disease-specific mRNA expertise to developing new vaccines and therapies while our Clinical Trial Unit is a leader in testing safety and efficacy.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Queensland stated that the partnership builds on a commitment to bring the latest technologies to UQ’s internationally recognised vaccine and drug development programs. The shift in focus mRNA technologies was accelerated during the pandemic and UQ has invested in both the people and facilities to ensure mRNA for pre-clinical research can be developed and produced in Queensland.
The Translational Science Hub will be located across Queensland, using the laboratories and infrastructure of the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Translational Research Institute (TRI). The research is expected to start in Q1 2023 with an initial focus on a Chlamydia vaccine.
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the world with around 129 million infections a year. While Chlamydia can be treated, there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection. If left untreated it can lead to infertility and in pregnant women can result in foetal eye and lung infections.
The biomedical industry in Queensland contributes around AU$ 2.1 billion in gross value-added products and employs more than 12,000 people across the state. The industry is supported by the Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.
To strengthen the nation’s local industries and reduce its reliance on imports, Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. invited enterprises to engage in digitalising processes as well as other crucial areas including education, skills training, and research and development.
The president of the Philippines stated that imported goods continue to be the main cause of inflation and that import substitution must be considered. For its part, the Philippine government is dedicated to accelerating economic growth with the broader objectives of reducing poverty and reviving job creation.
Notably, the government works to hasten the nation’s economic expansion by reducing travel and movement restrictions, even more, enacting economic reforms, and fostering stronger economic ties with trading and investment partners.
The President also emphasised the efforts being made by the government to increase the ease of doing business, public-private partnerships, and bureaucratic efficiency through the development and digitalisation of information and communication technology (ICT).
The Chief Executive said that the Philippine economy is on pace to sustain its good economic performance and meet the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 per cent for this year as it continues to recover from the pandemic’s negative effects. Inflation must be controlled, the country’s growth rate appears robust, the peso is strengthening slightly in comparison to other currencies, and the unemployment rate is reasonable given the circumstances.
The Chief Executive anticipates that the meeting will aid in creating new economic prospects, reviving the industries that have been most negatively impacted by the pandemic, as well as addressing upcoming difficulties.
Meanwhile, one of the first Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) entities established and constituted under the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board (IFPB), recently had their meeting.
The primary role of the IFPB is to address revenue imbalances and variations in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) financial demands and income-raising capability. The body will specifically suggest tax-collecting strategies and changes to fiscal policy for the BARMM.
THE IGFP discussed 17 issues on the agenda, including the BARMM’s tax system’s digitalisation. Assuring solid financial management and improved bureaucratic efficiency through digital transformation is in line with the administration’s 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda.
To further this objective, IFPB pledges to build and uphold positive and constructive relationships to meet BARMM’s financial demands and strengthen the region’s potential for revenue-raising. In addition to the IFPB, the Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB), which is made up of officials from the national and Bangsamoro administrations, had its 12th meeting and press conference to talk about issues pertaining to the local development of the BARMM.
In response to the difficulties posed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has reaffirmed its strong commitment to keep developing its programmes and services.
To adapt and alter its programmes to the increasing needs of the industries, TESDA is constantly trying to improve its systems and procedures. And this is where their partner industries step in, assisting them in creating training programmes that will equip graduates with skills relevant to their business.
The organisation emphasised how quickly technology is advancing in the workplace. Since tech-VOC training encompasses the study of technologies and allied sciences as well as the learning of practical skills, Industry 4.0 has a direct impact on this field. To create a workforce with competencies appropriate for the industry, the agency urged people in the education and business sectors to collaborate closely.