Projects supported by the Global Business Innovation Platform

Many RMIT projects have been supported by the Global Business Innovation Platform. You can read about these below.

Here are more details about some of the funded projects and the project teams:

2019 Projects

Image of staff at a workshop

Project lead: Dr. Bernardo Figueiredo, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing

Project Summary

This workshop was intended to support the Early Career Researchers to become more integrated within their academic field, developing strategies to increase their integration with the field via agency-enhancing mechanisms (autonomy, resource building, socio-cultural bonds, translation and visibility). The aim is to use this knowledge on academic isolation to help ECRs establish better research networks with clear practical implications, innovation potential, and strategic intent. It will help to grow their internal capabilities by addressing specific integration obstacles to forming field-level networks.

The first workshop was held on 25 June 2019 and was followed by three additional introductory workshops in the period 13-16 August 2019 to provide additional opportunities for ECRs to engage. Various activities were undertaken with the ECRs during the workshops and the time was enough for a good discussion around the actionable solutions properly. Participants left the workshop with a raised awareness about the issues.

Project outcomes

  • Action has confirmed that the academic isolation (and lack of integration) seems to deeply affect some of our staff and it is widespread.
  • Action provides valuable feedback on how our researchers are experiencing academic isolation and how it may impact their integration in the field. 
  • ECRS do have problems of integration and isolation but they perceive themselves as having even more pressing problems such as the high teaching/research ration, the lack of access to good mentors, the lack of clear publications expectations from the different schools, the lack of resources and the lack of time to engage with research. 

ECRs have not yet reached the level when there are preoccupied with integrating in the field. Their mission is more basic: to survive and do whatever is needed to please their immediate managers and meet their job requirements.

Project leads: Dr Bernardo Figueiredo and Dr Torgeir Aleti, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing

Project Summary

We aimed to help establish a stronger partnership with a non-for-profit organisation to jointly understand the lived experiences of older Australians and technology. By establishing this partnership, the team expects to generate new knowledge in consumer socialisation by investigating experiences of isolation and connectedness, their relationship with different forms of technology, and the consequence of interactions with technology for building supportive, collaborative networks. Expected outcomes of the larger project will assist in reducing social isolation, thus improving health and well-being among senior citizens.

Focus groups were conducted with 30 members University of the Third Age (U3A). This enabled the research team to identify key themes and recruit some of the U3A members to participate in a video interview.  Eight extended video interviews with members of the University of the Third Age have been recorded at the RMIT studio.

Project outcomes

Grant applications:

  • Linkage grant application is being prepared now
  • We applied to ACCAN grant for an extension on this project.
  • We are applying for the AXA grant for another extension on the is project. The College of Business and Law selected our project to represent the College

The EIP funding we received at the beginning of 2019 allowed us to establish a strong relationship with the University of the Third Age. They were so excited about the videos that we were able to secure a small contract with them to conduct more videos and to build the website to host the videos and the ideas around the project. From here, ‘Shaping Connections’ was born.

Based on co-creation and co-design, Shaping Connections has allowed us to align our research goals with U3A’s and secure them as partners for future grants. The EIP funding was truly a seed fund as it allowed us to begin a long-term relationship with an important partner. We have been contacted by different organisations interested in partnering with us. One of them is even using part of our research instrument in their current research.

In addition to hosting the videos on the website, we also produced an extensive report as well as an engagement booklet about the program. We presented two conference papers at the ANZMAC Conference in December 2019, and we had a paper accepted for the CCT conference in the UK in June 2020 (included in the digital proceedings due to COVID). Further, we conducted a workshop about engagement for impact at our annual CCT symposium, as well as a presentation about intergenerational friction and technology in the school-based forum ‘miniMAPS’. Finally, we wrote two articles for the Conversation in addition to one RMIT press release:

Staff sitting around a table
Staff on their laptops

Future plans for the project

We prefer to refer to Shaping Connections as a research program as opposed to a project. This is because we focus on building long-term sustainable relationships as opposed to approaching this with a limited timeframe in mind. In partnership with U3A, we have detected three areas that are important to continue researching:

  • Better manage threats and the perception of threats associated with how seniors engage online. This includes understanding what the perceived threats are, and then building frameworks and toolkits to overcome these perceived threats.
  • Understand the role of community connectors in helping others in their networks to engage with the digital environment. This includes understanding the needs of social connectors and building a toolkit for how to best support them to purposely engage with their networks to improve connectedness in seniors.
  • Understand and foster intergenerational support to help engage with digital environments. This includes understanding the often complex and multifaceted intergenerational relationships seniors have and how new knowledge and skills about technology is transferred between generations.

The project and COVID-19

The COVID19 pandemic has highlighted that digital engagement is crucial for fostering social inclusion. The situation has further highlighted the need for seniors to obtain basic computer literacy in order to stay connected online when face-to-face meetings are no longer an option. This has propelled our work into mainstream interest. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have appeared in four interviews on ABC radio as well as in two print media interviews (ABC & The Guardian):

Project lead: Dr. Iryna Heiets, School of Engineering

This project is a multi-disciplinary research based on collaboration between the School of Engineering (Aerospace Engineering and Aviation team), Global Business Innovation EIP at RMIT University, University of Montpellier (France) and industry participation.

Project Summary

The purpose of this project is to provide insights into co-opetition strategies for the airline industry. It investigates how best to co-create and co-innovate in the industry, from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Researcher engagement will be provided through collaboration in co-opetition and innovation between researchers from European and Australian Universities. The practical component involves industry engagement events with professionals from airlines.

The first workshop was held on 17 Sept 2019 and was a great success. The aim of the workshop was to bring a new understanding of the perspectives of coopetition for airlines. It united scholars with different background and experienced practitioners.

Project outcomes

A second workshop “Coopetition strategy for airlines” is being planned to be held later this year as part of the A Better Work Start initiative led by Prof. Anne-Laure Mention and Prof. Ivan Cole. The aim of the project is to continue to create the opportunity for collaboration, develop multi-disciplinary capabilities, gather together the competencies and skills to engage in the collaborative innovation process in the area of coopetition strategy.

Stay tuned for more details to be announced soon.

Project lead: Prof. Nava Subramaniam, School of Accounting

Team members: Dr. Suraiyah Akbar (lecturer of accounting, ECR, RMIT), Dr. Renzo Mori (Senior Advisor, Sustainable Development, RMIT), Corinne Schoch (Senior Adviser, Global Compact Network Australia)

Project Summary

This roundtable is inspired by the recent Australian Senate Enquiry into the UN SDGs and is supported by the UN Global Compact Australia. The purpose of this event is to draw insights on how Australian firms can make meaningful progress towards achievement of the UN SDGs, and enhance accountability and transparency of their reporting processes. It will enhance industry engagement by bringing together stakeholders from different governance levels to formulate a pathway for developing a more innovative SDG performance measurement framework for organisations. These stakeholders will comprise representatives from government agencies, Australian businesses, not-for-profit organisations, universities, industry bodies and civil society.

Project outcomes

The roundtable was held in Sept 2019. Two external research grants were derived because of the networks built pre and post the event:

1) Title: An assessment of SDG disclosure within the top 150 Australian public listed companies

Other Applicants: Dr. Renzo Mori Jnr., Dr Suraiyah Akbar, Dr. Sophia Ji and Dr. Hui Situ.

Funding Body: UN Global Compact Network Australia

Project Completed now. Outcome - Report shared on the UN Global Compact Network website and Linked-in.

2) Project Title: The role of accounting and accountants in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) governance in Australian firms

Other Applicants: Dr. Renzo Mori Jnr., Dr. Suraiyah Akbar, Dr. Sophia Ji and Dr.Hui Situ.

Funding Body: CPA Australia - Global Perspectives Programme. Funding received in 2019

Project lead: Dr. Olga Kokshagina, VC Fellow in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Graduate School of Business & Law

Project Summary

Health is recognised as one of the key strategic areas to accelerate the growth of the start-up ecosystem in Victoria and put it on the map as an international leader. The proposed project aims to bring together RMIT researchers in health, biotech, innovation, design to establish a cross-disciplinary team in health innovation. In order to do that, a pilot study with a leading European Hospital - Vall De Hebron will be conducted. The team will use the design driven framework to examine how hospital can establish a value-based healthcare system. The pilot study will be used to develop collaborative grant applications in relation to other cases at Vall D’Hebron, The European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA)* and extending this work to Australian hospitals. 

Having the support of the Global Business Innovation and Biomedical and Health Innovation EIPs, this project will promote a strategic partnership between RMIT and Vall d’Hebrone.

The project will contribute to GBI EIP purpose through:

1) internal capability mapping for behavioural innovation research and design for behavioural change

2) showcasing HDR work to industry and wider audience through purposeful videos/podcasts

3) development of a collaborative research proposal for potential submission to ARC/CRC/CRC-P.

Project outcomes


  • Obtained ethics approval to interview hospital staff at the Cardiology Department at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Spain and RMIT.
  • Strengthened RMIT’s relationship with Vall d’Hebron (RMIT and Vall d’Hebron are   participating in the EU grant proposals together – see below)

Events, conferences:

  • Poster presented at the eHealth 2020 conference in Sydney in February 2020
  • Seminar organised with RMIT Europe and Vall D’Hebron on the future of value-based healthcare and procurement – October 2019
  • Facilitation of RMIT EFI panel on Health 4.0 – Febraury 2020

Grants development

  • Grant opportunity with Vall d’Hebron specifically – EU Application to H2020 with RMIT Europe: “Interplay of Disruptive Technologies and Secured Data driven models for Efficient Patient Care and Real time Healthcare systems” (RIA) – submitted in April 2020
  • Submitted a joint grant application with Assoc. Prof. Gillian Vesty from the School of Accounting, Info Systems & Supply Chain with the IMA: “Engaging accountants in value-based healthcare: Strategic Performance” in June 2020 (small grant opportunities)

Research papers/reports

Short White Paper – currently with Vall d’Hebron for a review

Research articles:

1) working paper under submission to a managerial journal – on clinicians’ perspective in value-based healthcare;

2) working paper with Assoc. Prof. Gillian Vesty on costing and value-based healthcare

Project lead:  Prof. Cees Bil, School of Engineering

Project Summary

The aim of the project is to invite the director of the Aircraft Systems Design Laboratory (ADSL) at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) to discuss their experience, lessons learned and outcomes of the use of their facility and to obtain good ideas/suggestions for the establishment of such a facility at RMIT University. Furthermore, to fund a small project to put together a proposal, including costings, of such a facility, making use of preliminary work already conducted with the School of Engineering.

This project is supported by the Global Business Innovation EIP, in conjunction with Design and Creative Practice EIP and Information in Society EIP.

The Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, established a Collaborative Design Environment more than two decades ago. It has been applied to many complex problems and grand challenges, so a good reason to invite the Director, Professor Dimitri Mavris, to RMIT University to give some insights in the operation and practical application of this facility.

The presentation identified some of the challenges faced by designers and presented some of the key enablers that contribute to the generation and synthesis of knowledge and the formulation of informed decisions. It discussed the benefits to analysts and decision makers of enablers such as Collaborative Design Facilities in the context of Engineering Design. The ADSL facility is organised in two environments:

  • ASDL Collaborative Design Environment (CoDE) is a dedicated facility enabling the analysis and conceptual design of complex systems by supporting the cognitive processes and functions of researchers and subject matter experts. The CoDE fosters multidisciplinary collaboration for rapid-turnaround design and analysis. By collocating subject matter experts, hardware technologies, and relevant software tools in a reconfigurable environment, communication within the design team is enhanced and the speed and quality of design iterations is increased. The CoDE enables researchers to generate designs and perform in-depth analysis by utilizing integrated modelling, simulation, and analysis tools in a team-centred environment.
  • ASDL Collaborative Visualization Environment (CoVE) provides engineers with the capability to present detailed and complex analysis results on a very large visualization real estate. Said capability directly supports the core function of the CoVE: to enable a rich and interactive visualization experience of technical results in a dedicated facility where ASDL researchers can engage with subject matter experts and decision makers to conduct electronic reviews of sponsored research projects

The lecture was concluded with an example demonstration on Environmentally Responsible Aviation and GT Smart Campus Initiative. The presentation was concluded with a discussion on the establishment of such a facility at RMIT University.

Project lead:  Dr. Neda Mirzadeh, School of Science

This project aims to identify 3-4 scientific ideas (with commercial applications) to be explored over the course of 10 months and evaluated for innovative business opportunities. The projects will involve undergraduate/postgraduate students, early career researchers and possibly senior scientists, and group them with interested parties from the School of Business and other Schools. Each diverse team will be on a mission to drive innovative aspects of the scientific idea and realize the potential of transforming that scientific idea into a business opportunity.

Project lead: Dr. Janneke Blijlevens, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing

The aim of this project is to build capabilities at RMIT to translate behavioral research into deep-reaching and wide-ranging solutions for government and business practitioners. As a first step, the team will survey the research currently conducted at RMIT and identify fruitful areas for the application of behavioural science. Once promising areas are identified, they will organise two workshops bringing together researchers from across various departments in the College of Business, other Colleges, industry partners, and policymakers. These workshops aim to leverage the wealth of talent and specialized knowledge across RMIT and our partners in industry and government to produce synergies in the pursuit of innovative, policy-relevant, and high-value-added research.

Project leads:  Dr Haiqing Yu, VC Principal Research Fellow, School of Media and Communication; Dr. Ling Deng, School of Management

The project aims to map out the various types and dynamics of Chinese migrant entrepreneurship in Australia, with a focus on the digital generation and their migration and integration process through entrepreneurial activities and opportunities. It will have public policy implications on multicultural citizenship and entrepreneurship for migrants and refugees in Australia. The seed funding will enable CIs to carry out a pilot research for a 2020 ARC Linkage grant application.

Project lead: Prof. Scott Valentine, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies

We would like to run three workshops with industry. Three are necessary because:

1) we wish to focus on different industry sectors in order to try and exploit synergies between the industry members invited,

2) we do not want to have too many participants in one session and

3) we want to tailor our CE presentations using industry specifc case studies.

We will aim to invite 15 prospective industry partners to each event. Each of the three events will be 60-90 minutes long (45-minute pitch and 45 minutes for networking). The sessions will:

1) introduce industry leaders to the organizational benefits of applied circular economy strategy, and

2) to introduce industry leaders to ARC linkage grants and how these grants can be leveraged to produce impactful circular economy initiatives with RMITresearchers that will improve resource efficiency and profitability at participating firms.

The project team consist solely of senior academics because we need to ensure the pitches are delivered effectively and that industry are exposed to the breadth of our expertise. We will involve younger researchers in the ensuing linkage projects.

The objective of the workshops is to open the door to follow up one-on-one sessions with companies where we can propose ARC Linkage grant projects. Our target is to win a minimum of three linkage grants from industry worth at least $500,000. Success in this will seed a follow-on CRC-P proposal to entrench CE as a high-profile research stream at RMIT. Already we have a dozen CE researchers involved in our rapidly emerging network.

2018 Projects

Project lead: Prof. Pia Arenius, School of Management

Project Summary

RMIT’s School of Management is conducting research with a range of collaborators which will examine emotions and performance of entrepreneurs by exploring motivations and drivers behind entrepreneurial behaviour, and entrepreneurial action. The research will develop understanding in enhancing entrepreneur performance and wellbeing and use one of the most advanced wearable devices, an unobtrusive wristband, available for measurement today.

There is considerable prior research on the link between entrepreneurial actions and emotions and the role emotions play in entrepreneurial performance and wellbeing. However, many questions remain unanswered and while previous research has mostly used observational and feedback response approaches in the laboratory the use of nascent wearable technologies and sensors could enable a deeper and more accurate understanding of emotional states to be measured in entrepreneurs’ natural work environment.

More broadly, what is being explored is the relationship between entrepreneurial start-up activities and the emotional experiences of the entrepreneur, and whether emotional experiences can lead to sustained entrepreneurial activity. The potential exists for the research to provide insights into how greater individual resilience, wellbeing and self-efficacy could be supported in the entrepreneurial process for better performance.

Project outcomes

  • ARC grant application in 2021
  • Ongoing discussions on collaboration on data analysis, possible PhD internship for Imran Ture
  • 2 PhD confirmation of candidature in 2018
  • 1 PhD confirmation expected in 2019
  • Possible joint PhD supervision with Prof. sabatinis from School of Engineering
  • Joint PhD supervision with Professor Demange and Senior Lecturer Aksakalli from School of Science
  • RMIT Internal Collaboration with the School of Economics Finance and Marketing Professor Hoffmann and A/Prof Chuah), RMIT Activator, School of Engineering, School of Science and School of Fashion
  • Novel data collection tools and analysis methods (purchase of new tools and devices)
  • Ongoing discussions with University of Adelaide, University of Surrey and University of New South Wales on Collaboration for Data Analysis -
  • Co-operation on data analysis with RMIT Computer Science and IT
  • Proposal to organise a joint workshop on data analysis with Deakin University

Project leads: Dr Kate Grosser, School of Management

Dr Meagan Tyler, School of Management

Assoc. Prof. Shelley Marshall, Graduate School of Business and Law

Project Summary

This project contributes directly to the mandate of the United Nations Working Group (UNWG) on Business and Human Rights’ to bring a ‘Gender lens’ to develop guidance for States and businesses on how to address gender issues in their implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011). To that end the project includes:

  • Co­hosting the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights gender consultation in Sydney November 14­15th 2018, in collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW) and the Australian Human Rights Commission. This event will facilitate in depth dialogue between key players in business, government and civil society such that they can inform the new UN guidance. We will co-author a report of findings from this event along with the UNWG and other partners.
  • Hosting a workshop at RMIT Melbourne to bring the voices of additional key players to this debate who are unable to attend in Sydney. Findings summarized in a written submission to the UNWG.
  • Conducting research interviews with gender and CSR experts to enable their work to inform the UN consultations. Findings summarized in a written submission to the UNWG.

In sum, through collaboration with the UNWG, and other key players, this project leads to the development of resources for business, government and civil society, which will help policy makers, as well as business managers, to address gendered human rights challenges globally. It will help society by improving accountability for gender equality. Students will learn from this project through teaching, including of the course Managing International Business Responsibly (in the School of Management).

Project outcomes

  • DECRA grant was received in 2019 for this and several other projects led by Assoc. Prof. Shelley Marshall and supported by the GBI EIP. As a result, the RMIT Centre for Business and Human Rights was established
  • Another grant application for further research on gender, business and human rights is expected to be submitted soon
  • This consultation facilitated in depth dialogue between key players in business, government and civil society and these were used to inform newly published UN guidance on this topic. The new guidance, which references input from our consultation, was submitted to the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2019. It can be found here:
  • Hosting a workshop at RMIT Melbourne to bring the voices of additional key players to this debate who are unable to attend in Sydney. Findings summarized in a written submission to the UNWG can be found here:
  • Conducting research interviews with gender and CSR experts to enable their work to inform the UN consultations. Findings summarized in a written submission to the UNWG can be found here: -
  • Creating a PhD Scholarship on this topic
  • Application for a CoBL International Visiting Fellowship to bring Professor Jeremy Moon from Copenhagen Business School to RMIT in November 2019

Project lead: Assoc. Prof. Gillian Vesty, School of Accounting, Info Systems & Supply Chain

Project Summary

Patient access to public healthcare is a challenge for most countries and is increasingly impacted by unsustainable financing, poor communication flows between clinician and administrator, and lack of skilled management accountants that can understand the data and support systems development.

For accountants and clinicians to better navigate the increasingly digital environment, this innovative funded project combines research with education by developing a digital simulation tool that will support clinical and accounting knowledge development and decision making in the public hospital setting. Data is gathered from interviews with public hospital managers to support scenario building and the manipulation of a dataset of 100,000 public hospital patient journeys from admission to discharge. This real-world data, provided by a supporting hospital partner, will be used to replicate the typical annual patient throughput of a large metropolitan teaching hospital. Scenarios around ethical decision-making and the management of patient mix choices will be embedded in the digital simulation. The simulation will collect data on user decision choices while aiming to improve patient access to healthcare using data on waiting times, diagnosis-related groups, funding, costs and clinical treatment choices. While being a valuable research analytic, this tool is also designed to challenge, educate and support ethical decision making in this setting. The tool is designed to be globally applicable for both accounting and clinical decision makers.

The project supports the calls for greater use and understanding of predictive analytics in performance management of public healthcare. It also encourages accountants to not only have skills in big data management but recognise that financial efficiency must be carefully balanced with clinical need. Funding support from the Global Business Innovation EIP will contribute to the overall aims to improve efficiency and effectiveness of public hospital service provision while optimising patient access.

Project outcomes

  • The simulation will engage researchers through the data collection and narratives of issues in the setting as well as through the data gathered by clinicians and administrator decisions as they engage with the simulation.
  • The simulation is a dynamic tool that is designed to engage continually with the healthcare setting. It is designed for pedagogical purposes which also supports long-term partnerships and alliances for future research translation.
  • The tool is ultimately a pedagogical tool that is designed to develop capabilities of practitioners in industry. The continued connection with RMIT through the simulation encourages the development of new ideas and areas for further research.

Project lead: Dr. Alan Montague, School of Management

Project Summary

This study is focussed on the strategic importance of researching the potential impact of automation and artificial intelligence on jobs across all industries. This project has commenced investigating the perspectives of human resource management (HRM) professionals, engineers and the Australian Institute of Machine Learning members concerning the nature, characteristics, implications and planning responses to the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on a range of industries, occupations, and workplaces.

The study has involved semi-structured focus groups of senior HRM professionals in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Perth, and Adelaide –facilitated by the RMIT key investigators. A national e-survey of HR professionals will be distributed through the Australian Human Resource Institute (AHRI) database of approximately 20,000 with an expected response rate of10 percent). HRM professionals, engineers and the Australian Institute of Machine Learning professionals will be included in the survey. An article is being drafted for The Conversation by three of the chief investigators to further boost the survey response numbers to other manager/leaders in all Australian industry sectors.

The project has received outstanding support from by Professor Anne-Laure Mention - Director Global Business Innovation and Professor Ivan Cole - Director: Advanced Manufacturing and Fabrication in their respective RMIT Enabling Impact Platforms. The guidance provided by both these professors has been vital in the development of this major project. Stephen Joyce, who leads RMIT’s Centre for Digital Enterprise has commenced working with our team of researchers which is already proving to be of considerable assistance. The support provided by the Australian Human Resource Institute, as well as the Australian Institute of Machine Learning has also been exceptionally helpful.

Project outcomes

The collaboration resulted in the research design of the research methodology for the book that was finalised for publication in 2019: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Implications for Managers in the Asia Pacific”.

Other project outcomes:

  • ARC linkage grant application - given the international reach that we have with academics and industry contacts in Asia Pacific countries (as demonstrated in the Routledge book) we aim to apply for an international linkage grant.
  • Additional Media releases - The PR section of RMIT will assist in organising media releases and possible media speaking engagements
  • Seminar and paper prepared for AHRI – “The Impact of New Technology on Human Rights”
  • Submission to the Victorian Inquiry on Artificial intelligence
  • Submission to the Inquiry into the Victorian On-demand Workforce
  • Journal articles - several journal articles related to the research project have been published. Also, two articles have been submitted to the Asia Pacific Journal of HRM and The Columbian International Journal
  • The Conversation article - Artificial intelligence may take your job, so political leaders need to start doing theirs
  • VET Project - ongoing discussions are being held with the Victorian TAFE Association and interested colleagues in RMIT’s VET sector. The aim is to apply for a substantial workforce innovation training grant.
  • State Government of Victoria Policy Initiative - as part of the mooted launch of the AI project (impact on jobs) the team wishes to develop further the VET training initiative to develop executive training for HRM Professionals
  • Book 2 - As an outcome of the seed funding, negotiations with Springer have been successful to develop the following book led by RMIT staff. Title: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What does it mean for Australian Industry?” This is a change from what was originally proposed but has occurred as result of the initial funding from the EIPs and supported by further funding
  • Book 3 - Another Springer book with a focus on particular industries/countries

The number of journal publications and extra books with Springer (one approved and the other likely to be approved) are examples of “further opportunities for team members” and an expanded team.

Without the support of the EIP a further project now planned (Project E Title: The Impact of digitisation in the medical sphere) would not have occurred and this is seen as extremely important Professor Cole has created a bridge to a very important partnership at with a key person (Dr Erol Harvey at St. Vincent’s Hospital) to further boost the project.

Project lead: Professor Gerda Gemser, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing

The DMA Collective Professional Development Workshop brought together 40 early career researchers and leading design management academics from universities around the world. The event took place on three consecutive days from 16-18 June 2018 at RMIT Europe in Barcelona, Spain.

DMA Collective is a global initiative that aims to establish a strong professional network of Ph.D. and Postdoc researchers in the field of design management. DMA Collective reaches this aim by providing opportunities for members to meet, develop professional skills and build strong ties with other young researchers interested in similar research topics. DMA Collective encourages leading academics to share their experiences with the new generation of design management scholars through events, meetings, and symposia.

For the DMA workshop in Barcelona, Mark Buschgens and Nico Klenner, both Ph.D. Candidates at the College of Business, took care of the execution on the ground, while Prof. Gerda Gemser, Full Professor of Business and Design, acted as the hosting RMIT representative. An international group of collaborators from various universities around the world jointly organized the event: next to RMIT University, organizing institutions included Westminster University (UK), Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Loughborough University (UK), University of Magdeburg (Germany), and Politecnico di Milano (Italy).

Faculty presenting keynote lectures and workshops during the workshop included Prof. Gloria Barczak (Northeastern University), Prof. Peter Lloyd (University of Brighton), Prof. Paul Hekkert (Delft University of Technology), Assoc. Prof. Cara Wrigley (University of Sydney), Prof. Ruth Mateus-Berr, University of Applied Arts, Vienna), Dr. Sylvia Liu (Hong Kong Polytechnic University), Prof. Cees de Bont (Hong Kong Polytechnic University), Prof. Gerda Gemser (RMIT University), and Dr. Erik Bohemia (Loughborough University). Next to faculty, there was a keynote lecture by Eduardo Moratinos, director of the strategic design agency Designit - Barcelona.

Project lead: Mr Ashley McAuliffe, Industry Fellow, Wealth Management, School of Accounting, Info Systems & Supply Chain

The Financial Planning profession has been in a constant state of evolution and is subject to rapidly changing legislation and regulation.

Increased compliance obligations can threaten the customer experience and have a negative impact on profitability; however, we believe that technology can make it easier to manage compliance and at the same time enhance the customer experience profitably.

We will gather some of the freshest and brightest minds from RMIT University, as well as financial services thought leaders and influencers to see what great ideas come out.

Over two days with the help of the RMIT Activator and HackerExchange, the Financial Planning Hackathon will take the participants through the process of identifying a problem, rapid testing and iteration and solution design.

The team with the best solution will get to see their idea brought to life.

2017 Projects

Project lead: Dr. Annie Delaney, School of Management

Project Summary

The initiative was led by Dr. Annie Delaney with collaborating non-government organisations NGOs, Homeworkers Worldwide (UK) and Civil Initiatives for Development and Peace (CIVIDEP) Bangalore, India. Knowledge sharing events took place to increase the capacity of civil society to engage with business stakeholders. One of the key outcomes of the project was conducting a two-day meeting of civil society and business stakeholders to discuss issues for leather footwear homeworkers in the supply chain. The meeting was held in December 2017, being the first time that the leather footwear supply chain stakeholders had met together to discuss the issues affecting leather footwear homeworkers, bringing together global brands, suppliers, global and local NGOs and homeworkers. Outcomes of the meeting included four key areas of action were identified: fair piece rates for homeworkers, improving conditions in stitching centres, expanding a supply chain pilot project and the establishment of a leather footwear multi stakeholder group to guide future initiatives.

What participants said: One supplier stated, “l have come to understand the issues affecting homeworkers. We have come up with a number of good initiatives to take this forward with all stakeholders”. A brand representative stated, “l hope this leads to further dialogue towards a sustainable model for improving the conditions of homeworkers”. A NGO representative commented, “l am happy that there is an in-principle agreement from everyone to improve homework conditions”.

Project outcomes

  • ARC Linkage Grant application in development
  • Book publication in 2019 - ‘Homeworking Women: A gender justice perspective’ with co-authors Rosaria Burchielli, Jane Tate and Shelley Marshall, published by Routledge.
  • Research impact - the stakeholder meetings created knowledge sharing opportunities, contributing to the exchange of ideas
  • New initiatives were identified - for example, the industry multi stakeholder group made up of brands, suppliers, NGOs and workers will contribute to advance the rights of homeworkers and improve human rights conditions in the global leather footwear supply chain
  • In addition, the potential for business and civil society collaboration and partnership with RMIT for external grant opportunities were identified.

Project lead: Prof. Bronwyn Naylor, Graduate School of Business and Law

Project Summary

We ran a very successful invitation‐only Symposium on 11 December 2017 at RMIT. The context of the Symposium was the decision of the Australian government in 2017 to ratify the important UN treaty on the prevention of torture in places of detention (OPCAT). The GSBL organising team was Prof Bronwyn Naylor, Prof Penny Weller, Dr Adam Fletcher and Stan Winford.

We invited 60 key national and international stakeholders from monitoring bodies, government, and civil society. The Symposium thus brought together national and international experts to meet each other and exchange expertise about effective monitoring of detention, to assist implementation of OPCAT in Australia. Many influential stakeholders attended as speakers and participants, from the many areas in which detention occurs – immigration, prisons, policing, psychiatric and disability facilities and aged care.

Project outcomes

  • At the time of the Symposium we extended the impact of the meeting by arranging for the international experts, from countries which have a long history with the OPCAT treaty, to speak at two further seminars, in Melbourne and Canberra. One international guest was interviewed on the ABC Radio by influential commentator Jon Faine, ensuring broader discussion and awareness of the issues of abuse in detention and the importance of ratification of OPCAT.
  • Following the Symposium Prof Naylor, Prof Weller and Mr Winford, and the Australian Human Rights Commissioners Ed Santow, edited a set of scholarly papers from the Symposium, which were published as a Special Issue of the quality journal Australian Journal of Human Rights (A‐ranked by the ERA) in early 2019.
  • Members of the GSBL team have continued to work together in the area and to be consulted on relevant issues (e.g.Prof Naylor and Prof Weller). Prof Weller has developed further work on OPCAT and the disability sector. In December 2018 Prof Naylor was invited to join an Advisory Group for the Victorian Ombudsman’s pilot OPCAT‐style inspection of places of detention, which reported in August 2019.
  • Prof Naylor coordinated a Roundtable at RMIT on 16 September 2019 on the role of civil society in the implementation of OPCAT, with the Victorian Public Advocate Dr Colleen Pearce, and the Foundation for the Prevention of Torture, along with Prof Weller and Mr Winford. Prof Naylor also chaired a panel discussion on prison monitoring and OPCAT at the Australian and New Zealand Criminology Conference in Perth in December 2019.
  • Another project will be developed further by Prof Naylor in collaboration with her Swedish colleague Prof Pernilla Leviner. This is an examination of human rights monitoring of places where children and young people are detained, in Australia and Sweden, and a number of other relevant countries, with a view to providing a comparative analysis of the most effective forms of monitoring under OPCAT. This project is in its early stages but will be taken forward when Prof Naylor spend 6 weeks at Stockholm University as part of her 2020 Study Leave. It is expected to lead, first, to a public seminar in Stockholm and publications, and then to a more extensive comparative examination, and wider dissemination of findings, with funding from the ARC and/or European funding agencies.

Project lead: Mr Michael Fairbairn, Assoc. Director Business Operations and Engagement, RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub

Project Summary

Recognising that new technologies are driving massive change in financial systems, as well as strong demand for academia to drive research and analysis in this sector, the College of Business at RMIT University, have developed a strong and vibrant RMIT FinTech Community. 

FinTech describes a business that aims at providing financial services by making use of software and modern technology. FinTech companies now directly compete with banks in most areas of the financial sector to sell financial services and solutions to customers. Mostly due to regulatory reasons and their internal structures, banks still struggle to keep up with FinTech start-ups in terms of innovation speed.

RMIT University is well positioned to champion this wave, as was reported in the latest Global Financial Centres Index, Melbourne jumped eight ranking spots from its ranking from 21 to 13 and has now been named an Established International centre. This climb saw Melbourne leap-frog other financial centres previously ahead of it on the list including Geneva, Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Luxembourg and Osaka.

With a strong start up culture, robust education system and regulatory certainty, experts predict that the most liveable city’s climb will continue to grow in line with its strong and sophisticated financial services industry. Finance and insurance is the largest industry in Victoria, contributing A$40 billion per annum to the State’s economy, and accounts for 11 per cent of Victoria’s Gross State Product.

In partnership with Fintech Australia, Next Money Australia and Stone & Chalk, the College of Business hosted the RMIT FinTech Symposium, which was the first official event of the Intersekt Festival.

Project outcomes

  • Hosting international and local experts, the Symposium provided a global perspective on financial services innovation, drawing interest from industry, government and various stakeholders, this event showcased RMIT University's intention of becoming a leading University within this space. 
  • Following the RMIT FinTech Symposium, an intimate Masterclass was held in the College of Business, with international speakers from IBM, Cushman and Wakefield and Freibourg Business School providing deeper insights into Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and WealthTech. 
  • For more information follow the RMIT FinTech Community's LinkedIn and Twitter.

Project lead: Prof Robert Hoffmann, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing

Project summary

Entrepreneurship is of key importance to the modern economy, creating wealth, jobs, new firms, transforming existing ones, and promoting economic development more generally. This is now a big field in academia. But after decades of research there is no single definition of what an entrepreneur is. This highlights the broad and different roles that entrepreneurial people take in business. These include people who: accept risk and uncertainty, fund new ventures, discover new opportunities, innovate, make decisions and lead others, organise and allocate economic resources, start and own businesses.

In the workshop, we used different techniques to collect data about the participants by carrying out various tasks and using physiological meausres.

The project had several positive developmental impacts on the research team. The first is further research among the team members. The experimental study will be extended to include another idiosyncratic occupational group, that is artists. We are collaborating with and cultural economist to study the similarities between entrepreneurs and artists, a burgeoning new research area. In particular, we have a conditional special issue acceptance for a proposed paper in an entrepreneurship journal. In this proposed paper we are comparing entrepreneurs (from the funded EIP project) with artists that will be recruited to perform the same laboratory tasks. The second further opportunity is research-led teaching. The instruments from the workshop and the findings we made with the entrepreneurs became part of the RMIT Global Intensive course in behavioural business. The students on this course performed some of the same tasks and the entrepreneurial case study was used in the teaching to illustrate the application of behaviour techniques to business. The third further opportunity consists of the networking between the team and the entrepreneurs that were recruited. We are hoping to utilise these contacts in future research and engagement, e.g. to recruit future study participants, for consultancy contacts, executive training or industry engagement events in teaching.

Project outcomes

The outcomes of the project are a unique dataset with attitudinal and behavioural data about entrepreneurship and its behavioural antecedents and consequences.

The existing dataset, once completed, will be analysed to generate at least one paper that we intend to present at international conferences and submit for peer-reviewed journal publication. We are also hopeful that the findings will generate new research avenues that we will pursue in the future support by external funding that we intend to apply for.

Project lead: Assoc. Prof. Prem Yapa, School of Accounting, Info Systems & Supply Chain

Project Summary

This symposium aimed to develop an expert network supporting IABE's capacity to manage risks and opportunities for better business performance and relationship making. IABEs play a critical economic and a social role in Australia. Yet, many IABEs are nascent, needing more innovative ways to nurture effective management styles. This event is critical for new knowledge development by key stakeholder participation and insights on how IABEs perceive and take on business risks and develop meaningful partnerships. Consequently, the event was an avenue for informing policy making around IABE business investment and governance capability development. It is aligned with RMIT's Strategic goals related to Diversity and achieving community impact.

The symposium was held in the National Indigenous Business month – 27 October 2017 as a one-day event.

The first half of the symposium designed to share of knowledge and best practice. Prominent researchers were invited to present extant research findings on IABE business trends. Key business leaders shared their insights and experiences on risks and opportunities faced by IABEs in developing business partnerships. Second half of event involved a workshop on building risk analysis and communication models. We developed the workshop in conjunction with key professional bodies such as the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI), Indigenous Business Australia (IBA)and the Governance Institute of Australia, Aboriginal business owners and managers and those organisations that they are partnering with also invited to the workshop. A two-way communication style of workshop involving a sharing of stories on risks perceptions and appetites, approaches to risk analysis and communication of risk levels were undertaken. The format involved mainly about learning from the participants about what works or does not work in terms of taking riskier investments and business opportunities as well as sharing extant research evidence.

Project outcomes

The main outcome of the project was to get a feed-back and exposure to main opportunities and partnerships in Indigenous Australian Business Entities (IABE). There were about 50 participants attended the symposium including, Prof Mark McMillan (RMIT), Prof Nava Subramanium (RMIT), Prof. Mark Rose (from La Trobe University), two representatives from PWC and a few representatives from Westpac Bank, and some representatives from Australian indigenous businesses in Victoria. The issues –(outcome) discussed are:

(1) “ Do indigenous business owners view non-indigenous business as an impediment to their business” – As revealed only 3 % of business categorised under indigenous business.

(2) The discussions and feed-back received to focus more on - “procurement of supply nation”; “attempt to identify indigenous business relationships”; “what elements of procurement services face risks”; “how these elements affect or impede indigenous business in Australia”; “how finance is taking place indigenous business”; “what issues associated with collaterals in operating indigenous business”; “how financing organisations see the business relationships with prevailing banking practices and covenants”; “how the morale dilemma works among indigenous business enterprises”; “how indigenous business network with non-indigenous business”; “what leadership attributes can be seen and how indigenous people say about their businesses”.

(3) It was appreciated that RMIT university is an active member of Supply Nation network in Australia.

(4) It was reiterated that “We should include a few indigenous business leaders in the advisory board of the school Education and Curriculum Development” perspectives on the education programmes in Indigenous Business - Why education programs in indigenous business are important?

Based on the information and contacts developed from the symposium, the research team developed a paper using the data collected (documentary & secondary sources) and submitted a research paper and presented  to Accounting and Finance Association in Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ) conference in Oakland, New Zealand from 1-3 July -2018. Title: Indigenous community connections and Aboriginal enterprise development in Australia. 

 The Symposium provided the research team to further investigate the research area and liaise with local organisations to collaborate in further research. Currently, we meet up with Supply nation and CPA Australia to go ahead with the research work. We have contacted a representative from CPA- Australia in relation to establishing connections and developing relationships with the Indigenous community (as requested by the Ethics Committee -BCHEAN).

Next expected steps of the research project are:

(1)   to obtain the human ethics approval to conduct interviews and collect primary data and develop a research paper and submit to a conference for further feedback and comments.

(2)   Submit the paper to a high ranked journal for publication.

(3)   Discuss with industry partners (mainly with Supply Nations and CPA - Australia) for a competitive grant to further update the research on Indigenous Australian Business Entities (IABE).

Project lead: Prof. Babak Abassi, School of Accounting, Info Systems & Supply Chain

Project Summary

Assoc. Prof. Babak Abbasi and Dr Vural Aksakalli organised a workshop to showcase the capability in data driven decision making to the industry. Past and current data driven decision-making projects were presented and then the session was opened to discuss how data driven-decision making is essential in meeting industry needs in a corporate environment. The industry leaders in the area of data science from CSIRO, Defence Australia, PWC, Movember Australia and Amobee were present at the workshop.

Project outcomes

  • Networking and presenting our expertise to industry partners
  • Next step could be developing some seeds funding to work closely with one of the industry partners for further collaboration and research idea development

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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 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

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.