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  • Writer's pictureDavid Pointing

API supports Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference in Ballarat, VIC

The API is proud to again support the AUPEC power engineering conference, with 105 Australian and international delegates connecting over 3 days in Ballarat in regional Victoria. Led by Federation University, the theme was Net-zero Energy Industry: Renewable Energies, Microgrids, Hydrogen, Electrification of Transportation and Heating.

At the opening ceremony API CEO Dr David Pointing shared:

“the AUPEC conference community are critical partners in our shared mission to develop Australia’s power sector workforce - as the academic educators who are developing our undergrads, PhDs and top-up professional skills, as the industry employers who further develop our workforce into experienced professionals, and as researchers and innovators in universities and industry who are developing new knowledge and solutions and helping it flow back into Australia’s power engineering education programs – we all need to work together to ensure Australia’s energy workforce is as skilled as possible for the challenges ahead”.

A highlight of the conference was the API-led forum on the Future of Power Engineering Education;

Led by David Pointing, the attendees explored the challenge of with the rapidly evolving technologies, practices and issues in the Australian power sector – are our education programs at our universities able to remain up to date, and can we do better?

Also whether a similar collaborative effort between industry and academia is again required to develop teaching resources to ensure education programs remain current (read more about the API and AUPEC’s efforts 10+ years ago here).

ACTION: You can contribute to the live poll that conference attendees completed during the session (for university and industry professionals and PhD candidates):

  1. Is there a problem with university teaching maintaining alignment with rapidly evolving industry practices, technologies, market structures, engagement of customers and stakeholders in solutions etc?

  2. What does a solution look like?

  3. If industry & academia created teaching resources:

a) What topics?

b) What types of educational activities?

David also gave an overview of the API’s programs - guided by our Board and member organisations - to develop undergraduate and early career power engineering professionals; see a summary here: Support for Undergraduates | API

Thank you to the panellists involved in the session:

  • Professor Jahangir Hossain, School of Electrical and Data Engineering, The University of Technology Sydney

  • Dr. Elizabeth Ratnam, Future Engineering Research Leader (FERL), ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics

  • Dr. Masud Bakaul, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Techplus Control System Pty LTD

  • Professor Syed Islam, ADVC Research and Innovation, Federation University Australia

API also supported the Women in Energy forum on day 1, co-chaired by Dr Maria Vrakopoulou, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the University of Melbourne; and A/Professor Surbhi Sharma, Centre for New Energy Transition Research, Federation University Australia.

The session’s aim was to share experiences and insights on challenges confronted by women in engineering and showcase exemplary strategies that effectively balance career advancement while navigating the substantial responsibilities of personal life.

David Pointing (API) shared the API’s activities to support diversity such as the Powerful Women Leadership Program and insights we have learned and feedback captured from participants.

Other panelists included

  • Elizabeth Ratnam (ANU)

  • Ruchika Deora (C4NET)

  • Surbhi Sharma (Federation University)

  • Thilaksha Silva (Powercor) - Online

  • Jenny Riesz (AEMO) - Online

We thank the other supporters of the conference this year: AusNet Services, C4NET and the City of Ballarat, and congratulate the organising committee(s) on a wonderful effort in hosting the AUPEC community in 2023.

AUPEC 2024 conference (34th in the series) will be in Sydney and the API will again be a major sponsor and active contributor – we look forward to seeing you there!

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