Swinburne recognises Siemens CEO as Adjunct Professor
Jeff Connolly, Chairman and CEO of Siemens Australia, has been named as an adjunct professor of Swinburne University of Technology, in recognition of his extensive contributions to Industry 4.0 in Australia.
The occasion was celebrated at the Australian Ambassador to Germany’s residence in Berlin during a welcome function for Australian business delegations attending the largest industrial trade fair in the world, Hannover Messe.
Swinburne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Development), Professor Aleksandar Subic, presented the certificate to Connolly and said: “This award recognises Jeff’s expertise in advanced manufacturing business and his many contributions to driving the Industry 4.0 strategy and industry transformation in Australia.
“No other individual has contributed so much to Australia’s journey through the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He is an advocate and thought leader and, as a company, Siemens has invested an incredible amount of time, resources and effort to bring this capability to life across Australia.
“Swinburne is proud to be involved with both Jeff and Siemens as we continue to work together to create economic and social impact through positive industrial transformation,” Professor Subic said.
“Clearly this recognition is acknowledgement of the relevance in Australia of Germany’s holistic framework for dealing with the profound societal consequences of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Connolly said. “I am proud to work for a responsible multinational company like Siemens, which — due to its global experience and unquestioned local reputation — is able to articulate the future of electrification, automation and digitalisation in a way that sets a direction for real progress in the country.
“Successfully competing in the future world is all about urgent pursuit of global best practice in both what we do and how we do it. We must be interconnected and enabled by the right tools and the right skills,” he continued.
The Australia–Germany relationship has been an important catalyst for the Industry 4.0 transformation journey. Following the G20 in Brisbane in 2014, the Australia–Germany Advisory Group was established. It was led by the Minister for Finance, Senator Mathias Cormann, on the Australian side and includes the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Woodside and Siemens. Its purpose was to identify ways to broaden, strengthen and deepen the relationship between Australia and Germany. Recommendations for collaborative efforts between the two countries specifically included Industry 4.0 and were endorsed by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Australia’s then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2015.
Siemens began bringing formal delegations to Germany a few years ago to specifically see and experience Hannover Messe and German industry where Industry 4.0 is the major topic.
“In a digitalised and globalised world, Australian companies and stakeholders need to understand the benchmark if they want to compete in the future,” Connolly said. “We may not be able to be the best at everything, but we certainly can be the best at some things — so long as we have the right skills and tools to participate in the global economy.”
Through Industry 4.0 collaboration activities, Australia leverages Germany’s strengths in advanced manufacturing and industry, as well as its whole-of-society approach to the transformation. Australia also has a lot to contribute, particularly in areas such as international standards and world-class education.
Connolly was responsible for establishing and leading the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce in Australia, which is now embedded as a bipartisan group into the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group).
The taskforce’s structure replicated the approach of Germany’s Plattform Industrie 4.0 Group. It mirrored the approach of key work streams to address areas such as the future of work education and training, research and development, standards, cybersecurity and Industry 4.0 test laboratories.
Siemens has contributed over $1.5 billion in commercial value through strategic university grants of its advanced industrial product lifecycle management (PLM) software.
Australia’s government has committed $6 million across six strategic university partnerships to develop Industry 4.0 test laboratories and help Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) understand what is possible and to build national Industry 4.0 capability. Universities include Swinburne, University of Western Australia, University of South Australia, University of Technology Sydney, University of Queensland and University of Tasmania.
A multi-award winning, innovative, vocational learning pilot program called the ‘Industry 4.0 Apprenticeship’ program has been implemented. It is a joint collaboration between AiGroup, Siemens and Swinburne, and has already produced job-ready graduates who are now working in many technology-related fields. Last year, Siemens was awarded the prestigious Australian Apprenticeships Employer Award at the Australian Training Awards. Siemens also received the ‘Leader in Industry 4.0’ award at the Victorian Government Manufacturing Hall of Fame Awards in 2018.
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