Responsible AgTech Symposium

June 15th, 2021

On May 27, 60 people gathered in person and another 230 registered online to attend our Responsible AgTech Cutting Edge Science Symposium. This event was several years in the making, starting life as an idea for a 40-person workshop in Cairns pre-COVID, before the pivot to a hybrid event in the Brisbane CBD.

What did we do?

The Responsible AgTech Symposium was one day to think big picture and long term. We brought together an epic cast of diverse individuals and organisations, to promote curiosity, connections and collaboration, in pursuit of more responsible and authentic innovation system evolution.

Why did we do it?

The event was convened to start a dialogue about social implications of the nascent AgTech industry and foster social connections in a tech-centric world. The day was designed to develop new understandings of others’ views and to inform attendees practice. Ultimately, our aim was to increase the collaborative culture of agricultural innovation in Australia and around the world. The below testimonial from a University-based attendee neatly sums up the importance of leadership in this space:

Too often, we rush ahead developing new technologies without pausing to consider the future society wants us to build. That means we miss opportunities, and in the worst case may even do damage. So, it is great to see Australia’s national science agency showing leadership in responsible tech development.

Who was involved?

The attendees came from all Australian States/Territories and from at least 15 countries across five continents. While primarily researchers (151), there were plenty of ‘others’ (51), agricultural industry (41), Government (29) and start-up (25) representatives.

With thanks…

The day was possible thanks to funding from CSIRO’s Research Office, Digiscape Future Science Platform and Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform. I am also extremely grateful to Emma Jakku and the rest of the organising committee, our event manager legends, Bright Humans Pty Ltd, all the speakers, and the attendees who joined us in person or tuned in online.

And by the way, what is responsible innovation?

Read more about responsible innovation and CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform.

Read about Digiscape’s social dimensions project.

By Simon Fielke