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Conference theme: Big Data, Big Opportunity

5th Annual Crawford PhD Conference

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

0915 - 1700

Crawford School

The Big Data, Big Opportunity conference will examine opportunities presented by effectively harnessing big data, and in particular will look at how open data (across the Academy, government and industry) can enhance research, shape policy development, and impact on innovation. The conference will provide a forum for PhD students, academics, policymakers, and industry to jointly discuss the implications and challenges of moving towards open access data.

The conference will run the following topic streams:
• Economics/economic policy
• Public policy and governance
• Environment, development and resource management

The conference will be opened with a keynote speech on the topic of 'The case for open data' and will conclude with a panel discussion on 'The successes, challenges, and future potential of big data'.

Keynote speaker

John McMillan, Australian Information Commissioner

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

John_McMilan.jpgProf John McMillan AO is the inaugural Australian Information Commissioner. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is responsible for freedom of information, privacy protection and advice to government on information management policy. John was formerly the Commonwealth Ombudsman (2003–2010); and the inaugural Integrity Commissioner (Acting) for the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (2007). John is a member of the Administrative Review Council, which advises the Government on administrative law reform; and he chairs the Information Advisory Committee and the Privacy Advisory Committee. John is an Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University, a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and former President of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law. He is co-author of a leading student text, Control of Government Action (3rd ed). In the 1970s, John was a founding member of the Freedom of Information Campaign Committee, which led the public campaign for enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Panel: The successes, challenges, and future potential of big data

The aim of the panel discussion session is to invoke a robust discussion around the potential and perils for public policy opened up by big data as well as the challenges it faces. We expect the discussion to touch on:
  • Standards: Promoting adoption of current standards and developing new ones
  • Challenges facing Australia, and how they can be addressed
  • Building workforce capabilities and improving analytical methods
  • New research opportunities and challenges of big data analysis
  • Addressing privacy, security, and trust

Chair: Jenny Gordon, Principal Adviser Research Canberra, Productivity Commission

JennyGordon.jpgJenny Gordon is the Principal Advisor Research at the Productivity Commission, where she oversees the Commission’s research program and provides advice and quality assurance for research and inquiry work across both the Melbourne and Canberra Offices. She joined the Commission in March 2008, after 14 years at the Centre for International Economics, six as a Director and partner in the firm. Jenny completed a PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1993.


Andy Heys.jpgAndy Heys, Software Architect, IBM Australia

Andy has been in the IT industry, working for IBM, for over 30 years. Almost all of that time has been spent working with customers across a range of industries. Currently he works with Australian Federal Government customers focusing on how to exploit technology to improve business outcomes. Prior to coming to Australia in 2010, Andy spent 3 years working for the IBM world-wide organisation where he was involved in the initiation and development of the IBM Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities initiatives. That some 25 years working with predominantly UK and European customers on projects which ranged from submarine design through to mortality risk assessment across Government, Aerospace, Manufacturing, Retail, Telecommunications and Financial business sectors.​

Greg Laughlin, Principal Policy Adviser, Australian National Data Service

GregLaughlin.JPGGreg is currently, Principal Policy Advisor, Australian National Data Service. He holds a BSc (Hon) and PhD (both UNSW) in climatology and spatial modeling. He also holds a Grad. Dip. in Applied Meteorology (UC). My first position was lecturer at the ANU (about 250 metres from the ANDS office), then on to the Resource Assessment Commission (Assistant Director of Research) and the ABS (as Director Geography). I moved to the Bureau of Rural Sciences (in the DAFF portfolio) where I finished up as one of only two Senior Principal Scientists. My research interests span climatology, ecology, oceanography and spatial modelling. In recent years I was involved in the development of some of DAFF's major scientific spatial web applications, including the National Agricultural Monitoring System and Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook Tool and the Rainfall Reliability Wizard. I have written a few papers and books including a best seller (The Users' Guide to the Australian Coast). Presently, and happily, I am now involved in policy development around open access, especially as it relates to publicly-funded research (publications and data).

Duncan Stone.jpgDuncan Stone, Senior Manager, Open Innovation, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Duncan works across Economics, Public Policy and Digital Innovation at PwC. He leads PwC's Open Innovation practice which brings together the startup/developer communities, academia, and large public and private sector organisations to tackle 'problems worth solving' for customers.

Duncan has a diverse commercial background most recently as a micro-economist and econometrician providing policy, economic impact and commercial advice across the public and private sector. Duncan's particular focus area within this practice was the impact of the digital technology on the economy. He worked with Google to explore ways to accelerate the growth of Data Driven Innovation and the Startup community in Australia, with the Federal Government on the impacts of technology on the Media and Cultural industries as well as looking forward to the potential uses of the NBN across a range of industries. Prior to joining PwC, Duncan held various roles within the property industry in Sydney, Australia and Silicon Valley in the United States of America including 5 years in senior roles at an Internet based start-up company providing property information services.

Pia Waugh.pngPia Waugh, Director of Coordination and Gov 2.0, Australian Government

Pia is currently working as a Director of Coordination and Gov 2.0 for the Australian Government Chief Technology Officer looking at whole of government technology, services and procurement. As part of this work, Pia runs data.gov.au. Pia is currently working as a Director of Coordination and Gov 2.0 for the Australian Government CTO looking at whole of government technology, services and procurement. As part of this work, Pia runs data.gov.au. Prior to that she worked in the ACT Government as an Open Government Policy Advisor and on the dataACT open data platform, the first of its kind in Australia.


Prizes of $500 will be awarded each to the best POGO, Economics and RE&D presentations. A prize of $250 will be awarded to the best Economics discussant.


Attendance at the conference is free.

Register via Eventbrite

The conference Twitter hashtag is #crawfconf

Call for abstracts

This conference provides a wonderful opportunity to present your work in an open and supportive academic environment which benefits your research. You should encourage your colleagues to attend and to share time to discuss and debate the high quality of research that takes place in the Crawford School.

We are seeking papers from post-first year Crawford PhD candidates in the following areas:
  • Economics/economic policy
  • Public policy and governance
  • Environment and development and resource management

Papers will be selected via a competitive process. Your paper doesn't have to address the conference theme directly, but it will help your chances of its being selected if it does.

View abstracts and presentations from 2013
View abstracts and presentations from 2012

Papers may discuss (but are not limited to) the following issues: trade, environment, economic growth, energy and resource management, international relations, social and political development, poverty, food and water security, climate change.

All post-first-year Crawford PhD students are invited to give presentations according to the following formats, which reflect the typical formats found in Crawford PhD seminars:
  • Economics: 15-minute presentation, with 5 minutes discussant and 5 minutes of question time
  • POGO and E&D: 15-minute presentation with 10 minutes of question time

Each session will have a facilitator. Coaching will be available to help you plan and prepare your presentation.

Presentation feedback
This conference will provide valuable opportunities for your PhD research. Feedback for your presentation will come either from discussants (in the case of Economics papers) and/or from the questions received from the floor.

Paper guidelines/important dates
  1. Abstract Length: 150 words
  2. Abstract submission deadline: Mon 30 Jun
  3. Abstract acceptance notification: Mon 7 Jul
  4. Submission of paper (Economics only): Tues 7 Oct, 12 noon
  5. Discussant feedback (Economics only): before Mon 27 Oct,12 noon
  6. Academic skills session on slideshows and presentation skills: Mon, 10 Nov, 3 - 4 pm, Seminar Room 1
  7. Submission of presentation slides (if you are using slides): Tues 18 Nov, 12 noon
  8. Conference: Wed 19 Nov

You can either use the ANU PowerPoint template for your slides or you may like to design your own.

All submissions must be sent to: megan.poore@anu.edu.au

Prizes of $500 will be awarded each to the best POGO, IDEC and RE&D presentations. A prize of $250 will be awarded to the best IDEC discussant.

About the Crawford School of Public Policy

Crawford School researchers have disciplinary and interdisciplinary expertise in public policy, economics, development, political science and environmental management, and area expertise in the Pacific Island countries and Asia. In the past 30 years our research and advice has had a major policy impact by improving economic cooperation and performance, governance, and the environment within the Asia-Pacific region.

Our school’s academics are contributing strongly to public discussion on water management, climate change, international development, trade, biosecurity, democratic institutions and public sector benchmarking and public value. Large regional programs, particularly on Indonesia and China, have made recent influential contributions. Within Crawford School, academics cluster their research into organised research units to leverage research synergies and create opportunities to maximise the impact of research findings and policy recommendations on targeted audiences. These organised research units are funded independently through grants, consultancies or other contracts.

Organising committee members

  • President: Arjuna Mohottala
  • Papers Director: Mariko Yoshida
  • E&D Papers Co-ordinator: Emerson Sanchez
  • ECO Papers Co-ordinator: Paul Hubbard
  • POGO Papers Co-ordinator: Mariko Yoshida
  • Promotion and Marketing Director: Zoe Piper
  • Logistics Director: Sadia Afrin

If you have any questions relating to the Conference, please email Megan (megan.poore@anu.edu.au) and she will put you in touch with the relevant conference committee member.