The Australian National University (ANU) has bolstered its commitment to helping the nation respond to the societal impacts of rapidly evolving technology, with the ANU Tech Policy Design Centre (TPDC) being made a permanent centre of the University. 

To mark its transition from a pilot to a permanent centre, TPDC has announced the development of Australia’s first dedicated tech policy curriculum and an expanded research agenda, supported by a new Independent Advisory Board, which meets today for the first time.

Professor Johanna Weaver. Photo: supplied

“Artificial Intelligence, cyber security and online privacy burst into mainstream public conversations in Australia last year,” Professor Weaver, Founding Director of the Tech Policy Design Centre, said.

“Experimenting with ChatGPT, or dealing with the personal fallouts of the Medibank or Optus incidents, awakened many Australians to the realisation that our adoption of technology has outpaced its integration into law and public policy.

“The urgency of getting tech regulation right cannot be overstated. People often focus on the speed of technology innovation. At TPDC, we champion technology and policy innovation at speed and scale. To shape a positive future, technology and policy must develop in unison.”

Established initially under a pilot program in September 2022, and under the leadership of Professor Weaver, TPDC’s mission is to shape technology for the long-term benefit of humanity.

In response to strong demand from government and industry, in 2024, TPDC will expand its research program and develop an innovative tech policy education curriculum.

The new curriculum will provide a dedicated career pathway for those interested in shaping responsible design, manufacture, use and decommissioning of technology in Australia and our region.

TPDC will sit in the ANU College of Law as a permanent centre.

“The ANU College of Law is pleased to welcome TPDC into the College and to provide an institutional home at ANU for TPDC’s important work,” Dean, Professor Anthony Connolly, said.

“TPDC’s work is necessarily interdisciplinary. Professor Weaver and her team will continue collaborating with colleagues from across ANU, including the School of Cybernetics, the School of Global Governance and Regulation, and the ANU National Security College.”

In support of TPDC’s expanded mandate, a new Independent Advisory Board has been appointed and meets today for the first time.

“If we are to rise to the challenge of designing tech regulation at the speed of innovation, we need to bring to bear the diverse experience and expertise of industry, government, civil society and academia,” Professor Weaver said. 

“TPDC’s Independent Advisory Board is comprised of pioneers in the field of tech policy in Australia. My team and I are humbled to be supported by such an illustrious group. The board’s diverse perspectives will enrich TPDC’s work and the design of tech policy in Australia.”

Board members include:

  • Dr Tobias Feakin, former Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology
  • Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner
  • Professor Elanor Huntington, Executive Director, CSIRO
  • David Masters, Global Head of Policy, Atlassian
  • Professor Rory Medcalf, Head of the ANU National Security College
  • Kate Pounder, former CEO of the Tech Council of Australia
  • Professor Rodney Sims, ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, former Chair of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
  • Brett Soloman, Executive Director, Access Now
  • Professor Anthony Connolly, Dean, ANU College of Law

Highlights of the work from the TPDC pilot include the development of Tech Policy Atlas, the world’s most comprehensive open-source global tech policy repository; the release of Tending the Tech Ecosystem and Cultivating Coordination research reports; the launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Tech Policy, and the establishment of Tech Mirror as Australia’s leading tech policy podcast.

Contact the media team

James Giggacher

Associate Director, Media and Communications

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