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Supporting the next generation of innovators
Innovation|Author Reuben Young
13 November 2019

Digital transformation is occurring at an unprecedented pace. We are seeing disruption occur across all industries, changing the way we do business and how we as consumers, interact with businesses. Rather than solely compete with digital disruptors, AMP sees the value in fostering entrepreneurship within the academic community, to help expose the next generation of innovators to a corporate audience and new business opportunities.  

AMP has long been a champion of innovation, hosting the business and innovation platform ‘Amplify’, since 2005. Through Amplify, we are proud to connect some of the world’s boldest thinkers with Australian businesses to inspire and share ideas.

While hearing from leaders and founders of global innovative companies has helped us adapt to the changing face of business and prepare for the future, there are more lessons to be learnt from the next generation of disruptors.

This is why AMP proudly supports the Amplify Ignite program, in which PhD students from across Australia pitch their research project in 150 seconds to a live audience for the chance to win $10,000 to progress their research.

This year, sixteen finalists will be pitching their game-changing research ideas, which have the potential to solve some of the greatest challenges facing us. Their research could bring enormous change to the fields of technology and data, medicine and health care, and the environment and sustainability, as well as to the broader economy.  

For example, Alon Loeffler, is a PhD student at the University of Sydney, researching artificial intelligence (AI) that can think like the human brain. The implications of this are far reaching, as this could be applied to medical devices such as prosthetic limbs or bionic eye implants, potentially improving the sight for someone with vision impairment or helping an amputee walk again.

Each Ignite finalist has a potentially revolutionary idea, combined with the academic knowledge to bring it to life. However, we often hear from our Ignite participants that it takes much more than this to transform these ideas into a viable product that can reach the people who need it.

Ignite offers researchers some of the soft skills required to help take their project from a university setting to reach business leaders. This includes a two-day intensive coaching and mentoring workshop to refine their research into a simple 150-second pitch. The finalists also have the opportunity to meet with potential investors and forge connections with businesses from a wide range of industries.

As we see digital disruption gaining momentum across a range of industries, it is more important than ever to ensure that businesses and the next generation of entrepreneurs are connecting and sharing knowledge and ideas. We want to see Australian academics and researchers equipped with the skills they need to compete with global innovators, and for Australian companies to have the opportunity to support and invest in emerging talent. AMP is proud to facilitate this through Ignite, and to help support the next generation of disruptors and innovators.

I look forward to hearing this year’s Ignite finalists pitch their ideas and following their progress to see the impact they will have on businesses of the future. 

AMP Ignite is held on 13 November in Sydney. 

Reuben Young is the head of AMP's Amplify program.