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Community, Indigenous

Putting Indigenous communities in the front seat of innovation

Monash University 2 mins read

A new program, hosted by Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology (IT), is inviting First Nations communities and organisations to co-design innovative solutions with leading Monash researchers to sustainably address challenges faced by Indigenous communities. 


Launched recently, the National Indigenous Innovation Challenge, presents an opportunity for Indigenous organisations and community groups to pitch a challenge or idea for a chance to co-develop long-term solutions with experts across Monash University with the help of seed funding. 


The initiative is inviting pitches from community organisations until 31 July. Representatives will then attend a full-day workshop to delve into their challenges and team up with researchers with relevant expertise in science, technology, engineering, law, business, medicine or public health. 


Program Lead and proud Wadjak/Ballardong Noongar man Associate Dean (Indigenous) Professor Christopher Lawrence in the Faculty of IT said after the workshop the organisations will be invited to present project proposals describing their sustainable co-designed solutions and selected participants will receive seed funding. 


“Our main aim is to build a bridge between First Nations peoples and researchers so that traditional Indigenous knowledge can be supported with science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) and business research to resolve the issues they know best,” Professor Lawrence said.


“We could be developing cleaner water systems, bringing road infrastructure to communities, environmental and clean energy issues that address climate change, bringing health technologies to reduce poor health outcomes within Indigenous communities and creating better bushfire and flood management adapting traditional ways which Indigenous people have been using for thousands of years.


“We need long-term connections and collaborations between our Traditional Indigenous Owners and the leading STEM minds of our country so we can actually nurture development from paper to practice,” Professor Lawrence added.  


Faculty of IT Dean Professor Ann Nicholson said the program was a big step forward in the University and Faculty’s ongoing commitment to working in partnership and consultation with Indigenous Elders, organisations and communities. 


“We are proud to host this major initiative which will bring the country’s best minds together to create meaningful and sustained connections with First Nations communities  while innovating through our shared knowledge,” Professor Nicholson said. 


This program and opportunity is open to the representatives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and community groups across Australia. 


Monash University’s Faculty of IT will facilitate and administer the National Indigenous Innovation Challenge with financial support from/ in partnership with Monash University’s Faculty of Business and Economics, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Law and Monash Woodside. 


Program Lead Associate Dean (Indigenous) Professor Christopher Lawrence from the Faculty of IT is available for interviews. 


To learn more about the National Indigenous Innovation Challenge, please visit:



Teju Hari Krishna

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