Digitalisation and Industry 4.0 will profoundly change the way in which business create and capture value and will also transform the future of work. To meet these needs, Swinburne is incorporating Industry 4.0 thinking across all teaching and research. 

As market leader, the university is investing in advanced digitalisation capabilities and initiatives, including research institutes centred around the digital economy. Swinburne is working with industry to solve complex problems, train staff and facilitate the development of new sustainable business models that allow companies to thrive in the digital economy.

In 2019, Swinburne was awarded the 2019 Australian Business Award (ABA) for Business Innovation for its Industry 4.0 Initiatives.

  • “Industry 4.0 offers industry significant advantages in productivity and competitiveness. Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 strategy leverages our capabilities across research, higher education as well as pathways and vocational education. Our research partnerships with industry provide deep insights into the skills needed for the workforce of the future. We have developed novel, tailored models for education and training in response to this.” 

    Professor Bronwyn Fox , Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)

Our capabilities 

Swinburne actively conducts research in virtually all Industry 4.0 technologies and works collaboratively with students and industry in the field. We are combining our research expertise and state-of-the-art facilities with our strong industry partnerships and focus on future-ready graduates. Learn more about how our strengths in research, industry and education are merging to ensure we and our partners meet the challenges of Industry 4.0. 

We actively conduct research in virtually all Industry 4.0 technologies, understanding that true innovation often happens at the confluence of these technologies. Several of our new research institutes place Industry 4.0 as a key part of their research strategy.

The Data Science Research Institute houses our big data and analytics capabilities. The Smart Cities Research Institute’s research themes include the future of urban infrastructure, services and delivery systems, smart spaces for home and work and the future of urban mobility – all highly relevant for the future of manufacturing. The Manufacturing Futures Research Institute is working with Asahi to investigate how data analytics and algorithms can be used to improve process control. They are also developing an Industry 4.0 test lab to develop a new value chain centred on the 3D printing of carbon fibre composites.

Many manufacturers are unsure how to operationalise Industry 4.0 technology to their benefit. Swinburne provides the opportunity for businesses to experiment through:

  • rapid product development and prototyping with Factory of the Future and Advanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Hub staff and researchers.
  • design-led thinking, problem-solving and prototyping with the Design Factory Melbourne and the Centre for Design Innovation
  • research and development projects throughout the whole university
  • re-skilling, upskilling and new-skilling of staff through vocational and higher education.

This collaboration reduces the risks, allowing new ideas to be tested inexpensively through access to student placement options and the state-of-the-art equipment.

Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 vocational education students are trained across Industry 4.0 technologies and are expert system builders and implementers. 

Transferring new skills into a company rapidly can be achieved through internships or graduate employment.

Companies can use this approach to develop and validate a new product, process or business model and to get traction in the marketplace. Complex, higher value and higher risk projects can also be explored via PhD projects or larger multi-year, multi-partner projects.

Swinburne is developing new courses which put deep digital, complex problem-solving, collaboration, communication, interpersonal and leadership skills at their core. Swinburne’s Industry 4.0 Higher Apprenticeship, the Associate Degree of Applied Technologies, pioneers this approach.

Swinburne will teach students how to constantly re-invent and evaluate their value to the marketplace and develop a continuously evolving personal business model.

Swinburne is developing its students into global citizens. Industry 4.0 apprentices have travelled overseas to learn how other countries are taking advantage of the digital economy and to see some of the world’s best practice in Industry 4.0 in action.

Once a month, academic and research staff at Swinburne meet to understand how technology is converging and impacting across disciplines, with the aim of sharing knowledge and spurring new initiatives in industry 4.0. This dynamic forum is presented by teams from across the university, sharply focused on impacts and opportunities for research collaboration.

See our events page for upcoming Industry 4.0 sessions. 


Swinburne is embracing the 4.0 era, using digital technologies to create social and economic impact through science, technology and innovation. We are developing practical approaches to incorporating Industry 4.0 thinking across all our teaching and research units.

Centre news

Find more news articles about Industry 4.0.

Want to know more about Swinburne and Industry 4.0?

There are many ways to engage with us across our Industry 4.0 capabilities. Please contact Nico Adams, Director, Factory of the Future on +61 3 9214 5011  to start a conversation. Alternatively, you can email him on

Contact us