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The federal government of Australia released an updated digital government strategy as part of its goal to make Australia one of the top three digital governments in the world by 2025. The updates have been in development for over a year, and the culmination of consultation is an updated 28-page digital government strategy. Under the strategy, the government has set out three priorities for its services in trying to achieve that goal. These priorities are making all government services digitally available, easily accessible, and people and business-centric.
The updated priorities are not too different from those in the previous digital strategy, which had set out priorities of making government easier to deal with through the adoption of myGovID and informing citizens about the government’s use of data.
Delivering the new strategy will entail uplifting digital ecosystems, reusing certain technologies to deliver value for money, and expanding the government’s digital workforce, the Minister responsible for whole-of-government data and digital policy said.
The strategy refresh came days after a Senate committee the federal government lacking in its progress in auditing its IT capabilities. The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration said that progress on an “urgent audit” that the government agreed to undertake was lagging, which has caused delays for its IT advancement. The audit was agreed to based on recommendations made in an independent review of federal government agencies.
The committee also noted that the federal government currently has no central data collection process related to IT expenditure across the government. The independent review uncovered that the government needed to approach uplifting digital capabilities differently.
Together with the strategy refresh, several other digital government movements were also announced including a new whole-of-government architecture, re-use policy and catalogue, whole-of-government digital and IT oversight framework, and trials of cyber hubs.
The new whole-of-government architecture consists of standards, guidance, products, and tools to support federal government agencies for designing digital capability and implementing and operating technologies, Robert said. The architecture would also give industry guidance on the federal government’s IT direction, including the digital capabilities it wants to be built in a reusable way.
The Minister stated that through the whole-of-government architecture, the DTA has worked in concert with government departments and agencies to map out all the strategic capabilities that we require as a government. They are now working towards identifying the existing digital and ICT assets across the whole of government and the capability gaps that need to be filled.
The architecture will be complemented by a re-use policy and catalogue designed to provide government agencies with a more informed view of emerging or existing government platforms and what could potentially be reusable platforms.
Outlining the whole-of-government digital and IT oversight framework, it was noted that all future digital and IT spending proposals put forward by agencies would be required to comply with various government policies, ranging from its digital service standards to cybersecurity guidelines to the re-use catalogue.
In addition, all digital and IT proposals must contain an assurance plan signed off by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) and the relevant department as part of this new oversight framework. This provides an important institutional lever for the government to monitor high cost or high risk digital and ICT-enabled investment proposals, and ensures these proposals align with whole-of-government digital policies from the earliest point in the policy development process, the Minister said.
With regards to the trials of cyber hubs, the Minister explained that the federal government would develop four cyber hubs that will be tasked with protecting all departments and agencies. The cyber hubs will be modelled off Services Australia’s 24/7 Cyber Ops Centre. The trial is an expansion of the DTA’s cyber hub pilot from earlier this year where Home Affairs, Defence, and Services Australia were providers in the pilot. Services Australia, Tax, Defence, and Home Affairs will each be a provider for one cyber hub in the trial.
Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) stated that Taiwan was in the process of preparing its digital COVID-19 certificate. Digital COVID-19 certificates issued by Taiwan would be accepted as equivalent to the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
People who have received the domestic Medigen vaccine will be eligible to obtain the certificate, even though Medigen is not authorised for use in the European Union. That does not mean, however, that such travellers would be granted quarantine or COVID-19 test waivers, based on their vaccination status.
The European Commission’s decision to accept Taiwan’s digital COVID-19 certificate under the same conditions as the EU Digital COVID Certificate means that the information on Taiwan’s certificates will be recognised as valid, but quarantine and testing protocols for travellers are still decided by individual countries.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), all legal residents in Taiwan will be eligible to receive the digital certificate. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is valid in all European Union member states and in 33 non-EU countries and territories. Those with a Taiwan-issued certificate will now be able to travel freely in the “EU+” area, which includes all EU member states, as well as the four Schengen Area associated nations of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The EU certificate contains information on the holder’s vaccination status, COVID-19 test results, and proof of recovery if the holder was infected. It is available in digital and paper format, and the application is free of charge, according to the website. EU member states can also decide to waive restrictions for travellers who have received other COVID-19 vaccines, the website says, adding that the rules vary from country to country.
According to the European Commission, once a traveller has entered into the EU+ area, a recognised Taiwan-issued certificate can also be used for getting access to cultural events, sites, or other activities where the possession of the digital pass is mandatory. , Taiwan also agreed to accept the EU Digital COVID Certificate for EU nationals travelling to the country, suggesting more convenient bilateral travel in the future.
To obtain a digital COVID-19 certificate, non-EU travellers must have been inoculated with one of the vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, individual EU member states may decide to accept other vaccines, such as the ones on the WHO Emergency Use Listing, in the future, according to the EETO.
Reciprocal recognition could facilitate travel, but the quarantine measures required to enter the EU would remain the same. Evaluations are also being made to decide whether and how Taiwan’s digital certificate could be used domestically.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the economy, tremendous opportunities have also emerged in the post-pandemic economy to fuel the growth of startups in Taiwan. The outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 changed lives around the world, accelerating digital transformation and creating opportunities for new startups to develop innovative ideas and technological breakthroughs.
The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), which has support from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), collaborated with the Stanford Centre for Professional Development (SCPD) to share their expertise and perspectives on technology innovation. The platform provided an opportunity for startups in Taiwan to learn about Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and to reimagine business opportunities in the context of a ‘new normal’ economy.
The pandemic has impacted the global economic structure significantly, bringing about further developments in business innovation and digital technology. For the past few years, the Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) has played an important role in promoting R&D innovation to help develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Taiwan.
The Deputy Education Minister of Malaysia officiated the opening of a Chinese multinational technology corporation’s ICT Knowledge Corridor in Cyberjaya recently. The technology company built the hub to enable younger Malaysians to understand the ICT industry footprint as well as to commemorate its 20th anniversary of being in the country.
The corridor aims to reach wider target audience like primary and secondary school students, college students, teachers, government agencies and the general public in Malaysia, to introduce them to the history of the development of the ICT industry and contributions of the Malaysian arm of the firm to the nation’s digital talent development.
The aim is to help nurture the next generation of digital talents by cultivating enough digital talent to reap the benefits of a digital economy. It is estimated the Asia Pacific region will face a shortage of 47 million tech talents by 2030. It is hoped that the ICT Knowledge Corridor, along with the firm’s other programmes, can help cultivate an ICT talent ecosystem in the country, the Vice President of the firm’s Malaysian arm said.
In his speech at the launch, the Deputy Education Minister of Malaysia shared how digital technology has completely changed the way people live and will continuously affect the global community and that he believes more efforts are needed to future-proof Malaysians with the right knowledge and relevant skill sets to not be left behind. He noted that the idea that digital technology will be the cornerstone of Malaysia’s economy can spur tremendous response towards challenges and cultivate innovation to stimulate growth in the coming years. Therefore, the corridor’s establishment is one of many steps taken to ensure younger generations familiarise themselves with ICT to nurture them into enablers of Malaysia’s digital economy.
The Minister believes that the corridor would be a manifestation of Malaysia’s technological innovations and development, which would assist the nation’s youth in becoming well-acquainted with digital tools and obtaining necessary digital skills, the Minister said, adding that collaborations between public and private sectors are greatly encouraged in implementing strategic digital plans and producing conducive solutions to accelerate innovation and create an effective digital ecosystem.
The Minister also said that programmes organised by the tech giant have left indelible prints in nurturing digital talents in the country and strengthening the nation’s digital economy foundation. The exhibits at the corridor include the history of communication development, terminal development, history of telecommunications development (network evolution), experiential zone with an interactive wall on intelligent society, smart street lights, smart waste management, smart metering, smart cities as well as smart education.
The corridor also offers a 3D photo experience using Augmented Reality (AR), an intelligent Fixed Network Development including wireless network development, and terminal history. It also displays network infrastructure devices that utilise the tech giant’s latest technological advances in 5G and telecommunications, magnetic waves – where visitors can learn how magnetic waves work; and virtual reality education, where visitors learn about future smart education and experience a virtual learning experience.
This initiative is part of the tech firm’s global vision of bringing digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world.
Children with brain cancer are among those expected to benefit from two grants announced for University of Wollongong researchers.
The Cancer Institute NSW Fellowships – worth a combined value of over $1 million – will go to Dr Saree Alnaghy and Dr Linh Tran, both are from the Centre for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP) and are also affiliated with the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute. Both fellowships run for three years.
Dr Tran is working on a new type of radiotherapy, called proton therapy, which can be ‘focused’ to stop at the site of the cancer tumour, without causing damage to surrounding normal tissue under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld.
Dr Alnaghy is developing a new imaging system for radiotherapy to better visualise soft tissue structures like tumours and critical organs under the mentorship of Senior Professor Peter Metcalfe.
He said that current problem is that it’s hard to aim the radiation beam during treatment and avoid healthy tissue before and during treatment. His team is, thus, looking into using a specialised spectral radiation detector that can measure the energy information of the X-rays that pass through the body.
“By analysing the energy, we can get more detailed information on the material it has passed through, giving us better soft-tissue contrast,” he said.
Better imagery leads to more accurate radiation delivery resulting in fewer side effects, more effective treatment, and less damage to healthy tissue. Dr Tran is also working on targeting tumours more directly but using an innovative treatment called proton therapy.
The CMRP team has invented a device called a “microdosimeter” which they wish to develop further to use in Australia’s first proton therapy facility, currently being developed in Adelaide, as well as in other locations around the world.
The invention represents a new paradigm that will provide maximum benefit to Australian cancer patients by minimising healthy tissue damage and maximising patient outcomes. Through a combination of innovation and creativity, the microdosimeter will have unique properties that permit the measurement of protons at clinically relevant high dose rates.
Dr Tran said the next generation of microdosimeter would also measure an important property called linear energy transfer, which determines the biological effect of the proton beam. She noted that this new treatment will be especially effective for patients with cancer tumours located next to other sensitive tissue or organs, such as the brain, the spine and the eye. It will be used where the side-effects of damaging healthy tissues is a major concern. This is particularly the case for cancers in children, and especially brain cancers, where the surrounding tissues are still critically developing.
The Cancer Institute NSW is a part of NSW Health and aims to end cancer by promoting early detection, cancer prevention, diagnosis treatment and care. The Research Fellowships are highly prestigious and competitive awards for researchers to build on their research capability and become leaders of their own research team.
The global cancer diagnostics market size was valued at US$17.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% from 2021 to 2026. The growth of the cancer diagnostics market is driven mainly by the increasing incidence of cancer and growth in the number of private diagnostic laboratories.
The number of private diagnostic centres is increasing across the globe as there is a rising demand for diagnostic imaging procedures and a growing burden on public hospitals due to the limited number of imaging modalities at their disposal.
By technology, the cancer diagnostics market is segmented into IVD testing, imaging-based and biopsy techniques. The IVD testing segment accounted for the largest market share in 2020. The large share of this segment can be attributed to the increasing incidence of cancer.
Griffith University’s MATE program has developed a world-leading smartphone app designed to help prevent domestic and family violence. The app provides tips to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship and advice on intervening safely to protect friends and family impacted by violence. The Motivating Action Through Empowerment (MATE) Bystander program partnered with the Queensland Government and Telstra on the ‘Be there’ app, which was officially launched this week.
Directors of the MATE Bystander program Shaan Ross-Smith and Anoushka Dowling said it was a critical tool that empowered people to be there for friends and family. “We all know of somebody who has been affected in some way by domestic violence and we all want to know what we can do to help.”
The app will empower bystanders with the information they need to make informed decisions and intervene in safe and respectful ways. It was noted that MATE already delivers person-to-person training, online webinars and other modules and the Be there app is another way to empower us to challenge a conversation, behaviour or a sense that something isn’t ok before it is too late.
The partnership between Griffith University, the state government and Telstra demonstrated the need for a united front in tackling domestic and family violence. “By itself, the app won’t stop domestic and family violence, but we want to help people look for the signs of violence, provide support and report it,” she added.
The Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence said the app was a vital part of the Government’s domestic and family violence prevention strategy.
Across the State, communities have been deeply impacted by recent tragic events and people want to do more to put a stop to violence against women. Hence, the government partnered with the Griffith University MATE Bystander program and its industry partner to develop the Be there app to make it even easier for Queenslanders to access vital information they need to support a friend or family member experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV).
The community has been coming out in force, at rallies and vigils, declaring ‘enough is enough’. This app will be aimed at these very people who are determined that they won’t let this happen to their friends, family and loved ones. The aim is to make it easier for Queenslanders to identify what DFV is and be able to respond earlier and appropriately to what can usually be a complex and difficult situation.
Griffith University’s MATE Program is an education and intervention project that helps challenge problematic behaviour around domestic violence, including coercive control.
‘Be there’ is an initiative delivered by Griffith University’s MATE Bystander Program, with funding support from the Queensland Government, powered by Telstra. The free app gives users direct access to tools that empower, educate and support them to help someone who is experiencing domestic or family violence.
Users gain access to tools that can validate any abusive behaviour they may see, hear or experience and help them navigate a safe way to support someone without making the situation worse or putting either of them in danger.
Users can read, save and share articles that help you learn and understand the signs of coercive control; get recommended content and activities with built-in reminders; save notes with the journaling feature to remember things you see, hear and feel; and, PIN protection ensures it all remains private and confidential.
Singapore Space & Technology Limited (SSTL) announces the second year of its partnership with the World Bank Group, to organise a Digital Earth Partnership Technology Challenge focused on the measurement and analysis of extreme urban heat. The challenge aims to improve our understanding of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect and its impact on East Asian communities.
Like the rest of the world, Asia is getting warmer due to climate change. The UHI effect, which is caused mainly by the modification of land surfaces due to urbanisation, is exacerbating this trend. The removal of trees and other green spaces to make way for buildings and roads, the addition of heat-absorbing materials, and waste heat from energy use in buildings and transportation are adding to the already rising ambient temperature.
This is a growing problem in the region as it results in reduced productivity, worse education and health outcomes, and greater energy requirements for cooling, leading to more carbon emissions. Heatwaves in cities also correlate with increased crime, conflict, domestic violence, and poorer mental health. Extreme heat disproportionately impacts poor or otherwise marginalised communities and is a particular problem for the region’s developing countries.
To address these challenges, the World Bank has embarked on the EAP Regional Extreme Urban Heat Study to better assess the impacts of extreme heat exposure in the region and to inform city-level strategies to mitigate and adapt to such negative impacts. To support this study, Singapore Space & Technology and the World Bank are launching an Innovation Challenge to source satellite and other technologies to better measure temperatures in cities and analyse the strength of the UHI effect in the region.
At Singapore Space & Technology, our mission, as an NGO, is to harness and advance space technologies to benefit communities and humanity. Global climate change in cities is worsened by the urban heat island effect and in particular, our communities are being disproportionately impacted, leading to even higher rates of air pollution, poorer water quality and associated risks to human health. I’m grateful to the participation of organisations joining hands with us in this meaningful work that can benefit generations to come.
– Lynette Tan, Chief Executive of SSTL
Participating teams will get access to technical experts from the World Bank who specialises in studying the impact of climate change on communities through workshops and clinic sessions and will have the opportunity to explore new use cases of their technology and data processing capabilities.
Participating teams should submit a full technical proposal of their proposed technical solution, methodology and sources of data to tackle the challenge statement. The deadline for the proposals is 25 February 2022. The World Bank and Singapore Space & Technology will jointly evaluate the proposals and select the winning proposal to be implemented in collaboration with the World Bank.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, Solar farms, also known as solar parks, are large solar installations. They are typically used as power plants, much like natural gas power plants. Solar farms, as opposed to residential solar panels, instal their solar panels into the ground over large areas of land. The panels absorb sunlight all day and direct it to a receiver filled with molten salt. When the salt reaches 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, it stores the energy as heat so it will be ready when needed. The heat will turn water into steam when a grid needs power.
Solar energy is Singapore’s most promising renewable energy source for electricity generation. Solar energy is environmentally friendly, produces no emissions, and contributes to Singapore’s energy security. However, there are some obstacles to large-scale solar deployment in Singapore, such as land constraints and local weather conditions. Shell and government agency JTC Corporation have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for an offshore solar farm, both parties announced in a press release last June 2021, to prepare for a future in which solar energy could form a larger portion of Singapore’s energy mix.
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and a China-based conglomerate enterprise have signed a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support the development of tech ventures and start-ups in Hong Kong. The co-incubation partnership will focus on transforming R&D outcomes into commercially-viable products, attracting top-notch international talent to Hong Kong, and hence growing the local talent pool to strengthen the city’s position as a global innovation and technology (I&T) hub.
HKSTP has been dedicated to collaborating across a network of government, industry, academia and research partners to support high-potential start-ups at their different stages of development. Pursuant to the framework of this MoU, HKSTP and the conglomerate will establish an I&T co-incubation platform to provide funding, talent and infrastructure support to rapidly progress translational research projects into market-ready offerings.
Under the MoU, the conglomerate intends to establish R&D facilities and provide resources to support start-ups across HKSTP’s thriving I&T ecosystem, including Science Park and INNOPARKs in Tai Po, Tseung Kwan O and Yuen Long. The firm will leverage the STP Platform to promote data collaboration and analytics for open innovation, thus powering the growth of new economies.
The company also plans to establish a GMP cell laboratory or manufacturing facility for post-phase II clinical trials to advance Hong Kong as an international hub for biotechnology development. These measures will foster local I&T development, support global start-ups and unlock vast business opportunities within the Greater Bay Area and beyond.
The conglomerate will also leverage its extensive resources and deep expertise in key vertical sectors by enabling selected tech ventures and start-ups to trial their innovations in a physical testing environment in Science Park. These companies will be able to obtain real-time data and collect immediate feedback to enhance their product applications and assess feasibility for large-scale market launches.
The collaboration will focus on prospective projects under HKSTP’s incubation and acceleration programmes. Both parties are committed to promoting the exchange of market intelligence and industry trends in the short run while sharing a common goal to establish a co-investment platform. Through providing joint incubation services, both parties strive to grow the local I&T ecosystem and enhance Hong Kong’s overall R&D strength.
The CEO at HKSTP stated that promising start-ups and research talent continue to face significant challenges at various stages of their growth journey. HKSTP is on a mission to strategically partner with industry leaders to form a strong network that leverages the full strength of each partner to support start-ups with growth opportunities in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area.
HKSTP’s strategic cooperation with the conglomerate will help tech ventures in Hong Kong by accelerating the commercialisation of research into market-ready and impactful innovation. A key focus of the partnership is to attract outstanding overseas talent to Hong Kong by cooperating with international enterprises as well as research institutions so that we can establish a stable and strong I&T talent pool for Hong Kong.
The Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the conglomerate stated that through cooperating with HKSTP in different fields, they will integrate different technologies into solutions or products to organically bring industry and the R&D sector together. The plan is to create an innovative laboratory that enables interactive exchange between industry and technology innovators at HKSTP.
Together with HKSTP, the conglomerate will provide resources in the critical areas of research, clinical trials, pilot production and help develop market opportunities for the park companies to accelerate their progress.
The collaboration will help Hong Kong’s I&T industry capture new opportunities under the country’s overall development and further enhance Hong Kong as a hub to attract foreign talent and investment, as well as a launchpad for international expansion.
HKSTP’s partnership with the company will complement HKSTP’s talent and incubation programmes, where its extensive research network and industrial resources will be utilised to provide more extensive support to start-ups. The resulting synergies can further unleash Hong Kong’s advantages to develop the I&T industry and jointly promote Hong Kong to become an international I&T hub.
According to a new report, although 90% of state and local government agencies have improved their use of data analytics in the past two years, four out of five say the gap between how much data they collect and how much they use for meaningful analytics is widening.
A study also found that 89% of respondents agree that data analytics is “the lifeblood of modern government,” but 63% are still in the early to middle stages of analytics maturity, and only 36% grade their agency’s use of analytics to create meaningful information an A. What’s more, 78% of respondents said the amount of data their organisation collects is growing faster than their ability to keep up.
The biggest roadblock that they’re seeing is the lack of available resources — mostly as it relates to the workforce and talent — that can actually do something with the data. Specifically, 41% of respondents cited lack of staffing and workforce expertise as the biggest challenge to meaningful use of data, followed by a lack of data prioritisation from leaders outside the IT shop (37%), poor data quality (33%) and an inability to share information (27%).
To help close the gap and help identify a potential group of data management and analytic experts, more customers invest in training opportunities and increase automation to help take some of the pressure off an already overworked IT department.
The Chief Data Officer role is becoming more respected and important, too, with 74% of respondents saying their agency has one; 37% of them added the job in the past two years. CDOs can help forge a data-first mentality, look at problems from a data perspective and get buy-in from non-IT stakeholders. In fact, organisations with a CDO are twice as likely to say data management is their top priority, the survey found.
Although these challenges are consistent across large and small agencies — the fundamental need for meaningful data is the same — smaller ones more often lack budget or resources. Resources are needed both from a technical expertise perspective, but also culturally. It needs to fit into the initiatives that are set out and correlated back to the business of running the government.
The other side of that is leveraging that expertise to focus on expanding into opportunities where the experts can maximise the use of the data. Agencies expanding on AI and big data capabilities is a great example of being able to harness data to enhance the mission, to help solve the business problems and to provide constituents with a better end-user experience.
Agencies of all sizes are struggling to see a return on investment in data management and analytics, the survey shows. The biggest benefit respondents report seeing is improved security (39%), while the smallest, at 32%, is improved accuracy and effectiveness in decision-making, although 53% of respondents noted improved data use for key decisions as an improvement in the past two years. Agencies are also looking to analytics to help them evaluate their cloud choices.
Adopting a hybrid cloud strategy requires agencies to have more in-house resources and expertise – a CDO, for example. With the flexibility of being able to move workloads back and forth from localised data centres into the cloud, it is going to be even more of a requirement that is going to be able to manage those workloads.
A modern data experience should be very simple. It should be API-defined and easy, common management tools so that organisations can derive proactive analytics that is actionable at scale. It should also be seamless, so the customers have the opportunity to leverage the technology without having a big strain on management.
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