Led by Associate Professor Diane Sivasubramaniam and Associate Professor Sam Wilson, this research program focuses on the development and application of technologies to advance the public interest.

Public interest technologies serve to address social challenges and advance the public or common good. Public interest technologies put people and society at the centre of our technological choices and strive to ensure that the benefits of technology are widely shared. However, public interest technology isn’t one thing. Moreover, it not just about technology experts. Rather, it includes all those who are responsible for adopting and implementing disruptive technologies, particularly in the public sphere.

This research program contributes to the world-wide effort to define and build the field of public interest technology. We also aim to support the next generation of civic-minded technologists and digitally fluent leaders, public officials, entrepreneurs and change agents.

Flagship project

The Technology x Society Forum

Collaborative project

The forum series is a collaboration between Swinburne and La Trobe universities. The project is convened by Associate Professor Diane Sivasubramaniam and Associate Professor Sam Wilson (Swinburne) and Professor Lawrie Zion (La Trobe).

Activities and opportunties

Forum activities will include a series of curated conversations on key topics. The goal of each forum is to generate opportunities for research, leadership and social innovation. Our first forum event was held on 15 June 2021. 

Interdisciplinary engagement

The forum provides a space for interdisciplinary engagement between Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and Health, Arts and Social Science (HASS) academics with an interest in the design, development, and application of public interest technology. 

Register your interest

If you believe your work would benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector (university, industry and community) partnerships, register your details with us to guide the planning of future Technology x Society Forum events.

News and reports from this research program

Current projects and partnerships

The Australian Leadership Index is Australia's longest running study of leadership for the common good. Each quarter, ALI measures and tracks public perceptions and expectations of leadership for the greater good in the government, public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, as well as the drivers of public perceptions of leadership for the common good in these sectors. In doing so, it, the Australian Leadership Index provides the public and leaders alike with a North Star to guide the understanding and practice of leadership that advances the public interest and serves the common good. 

The Trust Alliance is a collaborative initiative built on humanitarian foundations, involving a broad network of for-purpose organisations and initiatives. Its mission is to lead the emergence of a useful and ethical digital identity ecosystem, working towards the following goals: equal access to digital identity that is universally recognised and global recognition and adoption of ethical digital identity with the regulatory and technology infrastructure in place to enable it.

Completed projects and partnerships

In the midst of unprecedented social change and the growing power of technologies like robotics, autonomous systems, and biotechnology, our notions of work, justice, self and society are poised to change. Convened by Associate Professor Diane Sivasubramaniam, Associate Professor Sam Wilson, and Professor Lawrie Zion, the 2019 Society 4.0 Symposium explored the nature, risks and opportunities, and implications of these changes. 

In response to the 2019-2020 bushfire crisis, Australians engaged in an astounding level of charitable giving and volunteering to help communities and wildlife affected by the devastating fires. This innovative rapid scoping project identified, described, and mapped the everyday humanitarianism enacted by individuals and community groups in response to the bushfire crisis. 

Past event highlights

Webinar - Technology x Society Forum: Public Interest Technology

Webinar - Technology x Society Forum: Public Interest Technology

Held 15 June 2021, this forum socialised the concept, development and implementation of public interest technology. Speakers discussed current applications of the technology and issued a call to action for cross-sector engagement and collaboration.

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News and reports from this research program

  • Report: Everyday humanitarianism during the 2019/2020 Australian bushfire crisis

    Report: Everyday humanitarianism during the 2019/2020 Australian bushfire crisis

    APRIL 2020

    This report aims to identify, describe, and map the location of the humanitarian behaviours enacted by individuals and community groups in response to the bushfire crisis.

  • Report: Australian Leadership Index: 2020 national survey report

    Report: Australian Leadership Index: 2020 national survey report

    APRIL 2020

    This report looks to public beliefs and perceptions about institutional leadership to provide a comprehensive picture of leadership for the greater good in Australia. 

Explore our other research programs

Contact the Social Innovation Research Institute

If your organisation would like to collaborate with us to solve a complex problem, or you simply want to contact our team, get in touch by calling +61 3 9214 8180 or emailing sii@swinburne.edu.au.

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