Collaborate to Innovate with the University of Auckland
University of Auckland, School of Computer Science
Feb 20 | 6 minutes read
Collaborative efforts between universities and industries have pioneered some of the most remarkable innovations that have significantly shaped the world.
Collaboration has enabled the formation of innovative and often surprising solutions to societal issues across various disciplines.
Through science and technology, research has solved society’s most pressing issues in areas including healthcare, climate change, poverty, and even improving literacy.
Computer scientists develop theory and devise technological tools to solve problems, developing software to make processes more efficient.
Through collaborative technology and innovation, researchers can develop live dashboards to track real-time updates of current events. The uses of such technology range from delivering the latest statistics of infected patients of the novel coronavirus worldwide from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to relevant national government organisations, to tracking down flight paths and schedules in airports to identify peak aviation traffic.
Various emerging research areas in computer science also play a prominent role in how we learn. Thanks to open source learning platforms for example, more people around the world now have access to education at their fingertips. It is easier to learn a new skill or gain a degree regardless of location, time and even financial constraints.
Computer science also impacts the development of new infrastructure and how we move about our daily routines. For example, Google maps and other location-based apps are constantly updated through various data algorithms and crowdsourcing mechanisms to ensure users are shown the most up-to-date information in real-time.
More recent technological advancements also share a similar trajectory in terms of conception. The internet itself was born out of numerous research collaborations, with humble beginnings at university research laboratories.
Similarly, the digital transformation that is sweeping the world today would not have been possible without university-industry collaborations. Computers, web browsers, and even cryptographic technologies – all conceived through such partnerships are just some of the building blocks that made the technological world what it is today.
As we revisit some of the pressing issues of the present day including, global warming, climate change, natural disasters, poverty, pandemic outbreaks, and more, university and industry collaborations seem even more critical. In fact, the world could be looking for a solution that might be lying on a bench in an underfunded laboratory, somewhere in the world that will only see the light of day through collaborative ventures.
University-industry collaboration provides mutual benefits for both parties, both economically and socially
Through these partnerships, there will be enhanced creativity and universities will have a source of revenue that fuels more innovative research, and industries will have a competitive edge through the development of revolutionary products and processes. Universities can also drive social awareness in industries through projects that are beneficial to the community.
Knowledge transfer through university-industry collaboration will also be facilitated as business growth enhances its networks and workforce capacity. This, in turn, will be a viable environment to foster even more in-depth training, internship, and employment partnerships.
Although the benefits are apparent, some countries with leading research institutions are missing out on the chance to collaborate.
Reports have shown that despite having extensive research capabilities, New Zealand is ranked low on the charts for university-industry collaboration.
Here’s why businesses should consider collaborating with the University of Auckland, New Zealand’s number one research institution.
Gain access to the latest research
Universities house dedicated researchers and knowledge experts. Businesses that partner with these institutions can access the very latest in research and development across multiple disciplines.
This proves to be useful for companies interested in developing new products but are lacking the resources to research them.
They can tap into a university’s broad network of faculty experts, students, and researchers and even connect further with other companies with similar interests.
At the same time, universities are always working on innovations for current issues. The results of these in-depth research projects often require a platform to commercialise them, or even funding partners to jumpstart their research into production.
Companies who decide to collaborate with a leading research university will gain insight into what’s new and upcoming in their relevant industries.
For example, the University of Auckland’s School of Computer Science is at the helm of many emerging research areas.
With projects in cybersecurity, AI and machine learning, human-computer interaction, and more, the school also collaborates with research institutes from other universities.
Each in-depth research project aims to solve impending issues that New Zealand and the world face. From pre-emptive measures against cyberattacks to investigating the science behind how the human body shows fear, there are many possibilities for revolutionary research collaborations.
Innovative research for real-world solutions
As New Zealand’s leading research university, the University of Auckland is committed to producing quality research across a broad range of subject areas.
This includes sectors such as arts, business, creative arts, education, engineering, law, medical and health sciences, and more.
Backed by field experts and academics, the university has produced various innovative research outcomes that go on to solve real-world problems.
For example, senior lecturer Dr. Ian Warren and professional teaching fellow Dr. Andrew Meads from the Department of Computer Science launched a research initiative to develop a smartphone app for young drivers.
BackPocketDriver is an app that monitors how young people drive by monitoring speeding, heavy braking, harsh acceleration, and poor steering control.
According to the University of Auckland researchers, what makes this app unique is that it is founded on behavioural change theory.
They decided on this due to the theory’s effectiveness in other areas such as encouraging people to quit smoking.
Drs Warren and Meads collaborated with Associate Professor Robyn Whittaker from the School of Population Health, who is an expert in behavioural change.
The project was initiated to help solve the issue of the increasing cases of road accidents involving young drivers.
Another example is a research project to investigate how humans interact with their mobile devices by the School of Computer Science’s Dr Danielle Lottridge.
An expert in human-computer interaction, Dr Lottridge’s research involves experiments to understand how humans interact with technology. The research draws on the fields of human-computer interaction and human factors engineering to better understand humans today and to also design better technologies of tomorrow.
Dr Lottridge collaborates with major business players such as Google and Yahoo and participated in Silicon Valley projects to advance new technologies across various sectors.
Lottridge conducts basic and applied research, with interests in how people multi-task and interact with devices, including health technologies.
Businesses interested in producing innovative research outcomes to benefit an advanced society can consider working with academic experts like these.
Access to skilled fresh talents
The growth of several sectors in New Zealand has resulted in a rising demand for skilled workers.
Especially in the technology industry, more companies are expecting to hire fresh talent equipped with the latest digital skills.
So, while companies grow in capacity, there will be a demand for more of these job positions to be filled with fresh, skilled talent.
Businesses can collaborate with universities by setting up internships and apprenticeship opportunities.
These opportunities allow companies to personally train university students in skills that would be most relevant to the business’s interests and the overall industry.
After completing a successful internship or apprenticeship programme, these students can be hired by the company after graduating.
This also benefits the university because its students will be given the opportunity to be exposed to a real-world practical environment. This increases the quality of tertiary education provided to them.
Companies will be able to gain fresh, skilled talents through collaborative projects with universities. These new hires will bring added value to the business as they come equipped with fresh ideas to push innovation further.
There are plenty of possibilities to engage with the University of Auckland to gain the best benefits for your business.
If you’re ready to collaborate to innovate in the emerging field of Computer Science, visit here to find out more.