22nd April 2015

QUT will be at the forefront of shaping digital transformation in Queensland and preparing graduates for jobs of the future with the launch of an Australian-first Chair in Digital Economy.

Officially launched on Thursday evening at QUT Gardens Point, the PwC Chair in Digital Economy will explore new opportunities for the remodeling of key industries, research and learning in the face of unprecedented digital disruption.

The Chair is a partnership between QUT's Business School and Science and Engineering Faculty, PwC, the Queensland Government and Brisbane Marketing.

Acting Chair Associate Professor Robert Perrons said the position would be dedicated to research, innovation and building a digital mindset in graduates across the university, as well as engaging with industry and government.

"The Chair will play a crucial role in expanding the understanding and progression of digital capabilities," Associate Professor Perrons said.

"We are in a period of profound change and the Chair will be pivotal in understanding how emerging technologies can best be harnessed so our graduates, business and industry can all take full advantage of the opportunities of the new economy.

"The dynamics of business are rapidly changing. Guiding industry to discover opportunities uniquely available to them in a digital economy is fundamental to the Chair's activities."

Luke Sayers, CEO of PwC Australia, said digital technology would be "absolutely fundamental to Australia's prosperity in the years ahead".

"Our own PwC research shows innovation and digital technologies together have the potential to increase Australia's productivity and raise GDP by 3.5% and $136 billion over the next 20 years," he said.

"In order to make the most of this opportunity we need students and researchers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For this reason we are delighted to be able to partner with innovative organisations like QUT in working towards securing Australia's future."

Queensland Science and Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Chair would play a "valuable role in helping to integrate academia, business and government to create innovative solutions in the digital economy of the 21st century".

"We recognise the potential of the digital economy and we know that the jobs available to our children and our grandchildren will be in areas that we cannot even imagine today," Ms Enoch said.

"Creating this position is a step towards achieving these jobs and shows the state's commitment to embracing digital innovation."

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the PwC Chair in Digital Economy would play a crucial role in ensuring the City of Brisbane captures a large share of the digital economy for its residents.

"We are becoming a city that embraces digital technology in all of its forms through the Digital Brisbane strategy and creating an environment where great business ideas are born and ultimately become internationally scalable," Cr Quirk said.

Media are welcome to attend the launch, which takes place on Thursday, 23 April from 5pm to 7:30pm at Roomthreesixty, Y Block, Level 10, QUT Gardens Point.

Media contact:
Rob Kidd, QUT Media, 07 3138 1841, rj.kidd@qut.edu.au
After hours, Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901

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