Public Interest Tech Program


Advancing public interest technology: connecting the best of tech, government, academia and business.

CEDA Public Interest Technology (PIT) Program will bring together technologists, policy makers and business to discuss how to best manage new technologies and foster the collaborative approaches necessary to support solutions to the issues of rapid technological change.

Why now?

The pace of socially and economically important innovation and disruption continues to increase rapidly, while the breadth of new technologies –from AI, biosciences, big data, autonomous vehicles, IOT, to quantum computing – is growing day by day. How we, as a nation, approach the stewardship of new technologies will have a profound impact on Australia’s future economic and social development and therefore prosperity. 
Emerging technologies offer great opportunities, but also present risks and challenges. How do we shape or steward the development, adoption and management of emerging technologies to deliver the greatest public opportunities and benefits and mitigate potential risks and adverse impacts?
Building the right approach to the stewardship of emerging technologies must directly involve policy decision makers, who in turn must have the necessary skills and capabilities and access to objective, high quality information and expertise.
The right balance needs to be struck through regulatory settings, policy decisions, government spending and investment to support the development, commercialisation and adoption of new technologies, while addressing potentially unintended consequences that can arise from fast-paced technological progress. These processes must reflect an appreciation of the opportunity costs associated with an extremely risk-averse approach to regulation and policy settings that are not in the public interest.
Stewardship of emerging technologies in the public interest must also involve and engage others – technologists, investors, business, academia, and the wider community – not least because experience has shown that regulation after the fact of tech development and commercialisation is a challenging proposition. Community confidence in such stewardship is critical in building broad support for the adoption and use of new technologies and data. 
Quite simply, we all must become more comfortable and confident in working together to understand and steer emerging technologies and the issues that sit around them. Doing this requires cross-sector engagement, collaboration and collective effort to:

  • understand the possibilities presented by emerging technologies;
  • build a shared commitment to advancing technology in the public interest; and
  • create the necessary capabilities, tools, frameworks, forums and institutions. 

CEDA, as an independent, trusted, cross-sectoral membership organisation is uniquely placed to play a key role in driving this stewardship agenda.
Where to start?
CEDA is initiating a program of work to drive a Public Interest Technology discussion and agenda in Australia. Possible areas of work/investigation for CEDA include: 

  • Understanding where and how politicians and policy makers get their tech information and advice, and the tech and data capabilities of politicians and policy makers and how to strengthen these (building on the Thodey review);
  • Developing tools and information sources to increase understanding and awareness of emerging tech and data opportunities and their policy implications (short and long term);
  • Examining whether Australia has the right institutions and institutional arrangements to facilitate objective analysis and evaluation of emerging technologies and policy/regulatory implications;
  • Increasing the focus on ethical and public purpose implications of tech and data across the development, financing and commercialisation process through education and training, mentoring, and engagement with early stage tech investors;
  • Showcasing best practice development and use of tech and data for public good;
  • Articulating the most critical economic and societal challenges that could be meaningfully progressed through better use of data (public and private); and
  • Exploring how to bring private sector data to the table in support of public purpose.

Foundation Partners
To implement this important project we are looking to engage a targeted group of members to support CEDA as Foundation Partners in developing a focussed Public Interest Technology agenda and program of work. By drawing on cross-sectoral insights the program can be effectively implemented with a high likelihood of gaining early traction and momentum. Our vision for this group includes a cross-section of members from business, academia, government and the community sector who are prepared to contribute skills and expertise as well as financial and in-kind support to this agenda.
This advisory committee will guide CEDA’s PIT agenda, its implementation and communication. The committee will meet regularly to guide and inform the establishment and implementation of CEDA’s PIT work program. The committee’s recommendations will be presented to CEDA’s Research and Policy Committee and to the CEDA Board.
As a Foundation Partner, you will have the opportunity to shape a significant agenda not only for CEDA but for the nation. The program for 2020 will include a range of activities, from focus groups through to roundtables and public forums, all aimed at driving discussion, facilitating collaboration and guiding CEDA’s program of work in this space.
The financial contribution sought from you as a Foundation Partner is $75,000 (excl. GST) over two years. Your organisation will be recognised as a Foundation Partner in all relevant CEDA publications and communications and at relevant events and forums. Foundation Partners will enjoy:
  • The opportunity to nominate a subject matter expert representative from your organisation to the advisory group.
  • Recognition as a Foundation Partner in relevant CEDA publications and communications.
  • Recognition as a Foundation Partner at PIT related events and forums.
  • Complimentary attendance at all public PIT related events (up to four tickets per organisation).
  • Priority invitations to all invitation only PIT related events and forums.

To learn about the Public Interest Technology Program and Foundation Partnership please contact CEDA Director, Membership Mel Nelson on 0407 197 277.