Technology has undoubtedly transformed the business world over the past couple of decades, and the nation’s universities do not appear to have been immune from this trend. Universities Australia identified this in its Agenda for Higher Education 2013-16, in which it highlighted just how crucial the role of technology has become.

The report, titled A Smarter Australia, details four key trends that are driving change in the sector. Alongside the emergence of new technologies is globalisation, economic and industrial restructuring and the need to enhance productivity.

Why universities need technology

Universities Australia emphasised several core reasons why universities are choosing to invest so much money in technology. Among them is the need to enhance efficiency, as well as helping to support the experiences of new and existing students.

There is also the issue of security, which could spur institutions to take a closer look at printing ID cards for the safety of their students and staff.

The University of Sydney is leading the charge for technological advancement at the moment, as it has recently celebrated the launch of its first High Performance Computer service. This gives students the opportunity to access big data for research purposes, while simplifying the analysis of this information.

The project – which has been developed in partnership with Dell – is also expected to bring benefits to the wider scientific community.

“Artemis will enable researchers from diverse fields to perform state-of-the-art computational analysis and improve collaboration between research groups by providing a common set of tools and capabilities with consistent access mechanisms,” noted Professor Edward Holmes from the Charles Perkins Centre.

The future of technology in universities

As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, it’s perhaps unsurprising that there is some uncertainty over which direction it is heading in.

The Australian Industry Group recently released a research paper titled Addressing Enterprise Leadership in Australia, which called for a greater collaborative effort between universities and the corporate sector.

“Australia’s future, its level of innovation uptake and its ongoing competitiveness and sustainability, will largely depend on the capability of our leadership and the changes we make now,” said its chief executive Innes Willox.

Universities Australia agreed with these comments, pointing out that the country cannot become complacent about how well it is performing. Although Australia may already have strengths in certain areas, including research and technology, these will need to be sustained if economic competitiveness is to continue.