2017 Innovation Lecture: Shaping Tomorrow with Professor Andrew Harris

The Warren Centre presents our 2017 Innovation Lecture, Shaping Tomorrow: Robots, 3D printing and virtual reality with Professor Andrew Harris.

Australia has a legacy of world leading innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs.

The Warren Centre has been privileged to provide a platform for these leaders, to share their experiences and insights, and to highlight Australia’s innovation and technology capability for over 20 years. Australia, now more than ever, needs innovation to drive its industries to the forefront of change.

Andrew Harris (Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Sydney and Australian Director, Engineering Excellence Group, Laing O’Rourke) innovates to bring radical new technologies to the construction industry.

From a test lab in Sydney’s Chippendale district, engineers disassemble off-the-shelf video game components to rig up new onsite safety tools, while new technologies like virtual reality and 3D printing are being adapted to deliver faster projects and unique designs which could not have been done with the tools of the past.

“Resembling something like the futuristic lab of James Bond’s eccentric Q character, the EnEx.G lab is a playroom of robotic arms, 3D printers, cyborg-like exoskeletons and digital screens.” – Michael Bleby, Australian Financial Review

From robotics to ‘smart’ hard hats, a renaissance of innovation in construction is being launched from Australia to all across the world, geared to disrupt a $15 trillion global industry.

Come to this year’s Innovation Lecture to hear Andrew present his views on the transformational impact of new technologies in shaping tomorrow.

Event details

Sydney, Wednesday 18 October – Twitter Highlights / Full Video

Parramatta, Thursday 9 November –Finished

Adelaide, Tuesday 14 November – Finished

Melbourne, Monday 27 November  – Finished


About Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris is a Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Sustainable Technology at the University of Sydney and the Australian Director of Laing O’Rourke’s future engineering and innovation consultancy, the Engineering Excellence Group.

Andrew’s research is focused on developing cutting edge technologies to assist with the transition to sustainability. His research typically occurs at the interface between established scientific disciplines, i.e. chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and materials science.

By working at the intersection of these disciplines, Andrew adopts a multi-scale, multi-disciplinary approach. This approach enables truly innovative solutions in large scale complex construction projects at Laing O’Rourke.

Laing O’Rourke is Australia’s largest private engineering and construction business, with local turnover of approximately $3 billion per annum. The organisation is an internationally focussed engineering enterprise with world-class capabilities spanning the entire client value chain providing services across engineering, construction and asset management services, offering single-source solutions for some of the world’s most prestigious public and private organisations. Laing O’Rourke funds, designs, manufactures, constructs and maintains the built environment – providing the facilities to accommodate, educate, employ, transport, care for and sustain communities.

Andrew is a non-executive Director of Hazer Group, a listed clean tech and serves on the industry advisory board of the Australian Research Council Centre for Robotic Vision.

Andrew received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2002 and is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and Engineers Australia (IEAust). In 2006 Andrew received the Shedden Uhde Medal and Prize as the leading early career chemical engineer in Australia and New Zealand, and was recognised as one of Australia’s 50 most innovative engineers by Engineers Australia in 2017.


The Innovation Lecture’s primary sponsors are Laing O’Rourke and the University of Sydney.





About the Innovation Lecture

The Warren Centre’s Innovation Lecture is an exemplar event hosting Australia’s innovation leaders to share their insights and experience, supporting Australia’s drive for global competitiveness.

The Warren Centre’s Annual Innovation Lecture challenges the perception that Australia is lacking in innovation capability. The prescient Smart Card Forum in 1995 and Chris Nicholls’s Innovation Lecture ‘Spitting Chips’ in 2007 demonstrate the power of public lectures, industry forums and focused projects in triggering and accelerating productivity-enhancing innovations years ahead of their widespread public awareness.

The Warren Centre has been privileged to provide a platform for innovation leaders, to share their experiences and insights, and to highlight Australia’s innovation and technology capability for over 20 years.

Find out more about the history of our Innovation Lecture program


About Spark Festival

The Sydney Innovation Lecture is part of the Spark Festival, a ten day program of events and activities which showcases, supports and strengthens the vibrant startup and innovation ecosystem of Sydney, and all of NSW. With over 100 events on the program, across sectors from Fintech to Social Enterprise, Research to AI, and something for every stage of the startup journey, from idea to exit, don’t miss Spark Festival!spark-festival-partner-event

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