From Lab to Field: Digital Capabilities across STEM

The COVID-19 crisis has changed many practices dramatically, with activities that were unthinkable a year ago, now becoming routine. In universities, this adaptation has vastly accelerated changes in academic practice that were already in motion which, will presumably result in a very different approach to teaching practices in the post-COVID-19 era.


This international event will explore the importance of digital capabilities, including data and information literacy, across the STEM curriculum and workforce.


Hear from our eminent speakers as they discuss how data and technology has equally shaped both the food science and the biomedical science industry, as well as the important role of universities to produce digitally capable graduates.

The RMIT Community and the general public are welcome to join us as we discuss the critical importance of digital capabilities across all STEM disciplines.


Keynote Speakers

Professor Eleanor Fish, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto. Associate Chair, International Initiatives & Collaborations, University of Toronto. Emerita Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network.

Dr. Fish founded an international not-for-profit organization, Beyond Sciences Initiative (BSI), establishing a network of international young scholars, with the objectives of bridging the gap in access to academic knowledge through global communication, increasing cultural understanding among geographically separate communities and building capacity in science and technology.

Dr. Fish studies the interactions of cytokines, specifically interferons and chemokines, with their receptors in normal and diseased tissues and cells. Dr. Fish was a member of a WHO Working Group to evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of different antiviral interventions against Ebola virus. Most recently, in an exploratory clinical study in Wuhan, China, she evaluated the therapeutic effectiveness of IFN- treatment for COVID-19. The positive outcomes from this study have led to a number of ongoing international clinical trials with interferon. Dr. Fish was a member of the Canadian federal government COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force.

Professor Charles Brennan, Executive Dean of School of Science and Professor of Food Science and Nutrition, RMIT University.

Professor Brennan is an established senior academic with over 25 years experience. He is accomplished in leadership, financial management, development of international partnerships, postgraduate supervision, change management, co-ordination of agri-food departments, personal research groups, and multi-national research projects.

Professor Brennan has a broad knowledge base of plant breeding, animal nutrition, agri-business, biochemistry, food technology & engineering, human nutrition, hospitality and tourism systems.

Short talks will be presented by

Distinguished Professor Magdalena Plebanski, Director, Biomedical & Health Innovation ECP, School of Health & Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University; and

Professor Karin Verspoor, Executive Dean, School of Computing and Technologies, STEM College, RMIT University.

Q&A Session

Facilitator: Professor Kerryn Butler-Henderson, Director of Digital Health, School of Health & Biomedical Sciences at RMIT University, will engage and invite the audience to be part of a thought-provoking, 30 minute Q&A session with the panel to investigate the significance of digital capabilities across the STEM curriculum and workforce.

This event will run on MS Teams Live.

This event is organised by the ECP Post COVID-19 ReStart Initiatives, 'A Healthier Start' and 'A Digital Start' in collaboration with STEM College.

Organisers include: Prof James Harland, Prof Margaret Jollands, Distinguished Prof Magdalena Plebanski, Prof Matt Duckham and Prof Kerryn Butler-Henderson.


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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer