By Lauren Sydoruk

A new team led by global experts will be tasked with shaping the jobs and industries of the future as part of a collaborative research hub based at Curtin University.

The Future of Work Institute includes about 40 researchers and professionals with expertise in the changing nature of work and employment.

The Institute will provide research, knowledge and advice for businesses, government and communities seeking to understand the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities presented by technological and social change, digital innovation and automation.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry welcomed the team to the University and acknowledged the Australian Research Council, the Western Australian Government, and industry partners for supporting the Future of Work Institute.

“I would like to formally welcome the new researchers to Curtin University and look forward to seeing the important work of the new Institute, which will complement the priority given by the Federal and State Governments to support and create the jobs and industries of the future,” Professor Terry said.

Curtin University Faculty of Business and Law Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel de Bussy said the Institute will be led by Professor Mark Griffin, a leading expert in leadership, work performance, safety, and data analysis.

“The Future of Work Institute will draw on Curtin’s immense expertise across management, engineering, computing, technology, economics and education, and help position Australia and WA as leaders in innovation, employment, work practices and skills development,” Professor de Bussy said.

The research team includes ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Sharon Parker, Director of the Curtin-based Centre for Transformative Work Design and a world-renowned scholar in the field of work design and employee productivity, and Professor Marylène Gagné, a leading researcher in the study of work motivation.

Other researchers include Associate Professor Karina Jorritsma, whose research focuses on new ways for research and industry to interact, which aligns with Curtin’s goal of balancing demand-driven and researcher-driven research. Associate Professor Patrick Dunlop will be joining the team in 2019. His research focuses on personnel recruitment, selection, and socialisation.

Future of Work Institute Director Professor Mark Griffin said the new team members are delighted to join Curtin and are already creating new collaborations with other Curtin researchers.

“The digital revolution is re-configuring work rapidly and on a very large scale. Changing skill requirements and employment patterns means there is an urgent need to understand and improve the nature of work for everyone,” Professor Griffin said.

“Digital disruption, automation, artificial intelligence, social change and globalisation are changing the way people work. Understanding the trends, influences and consequences of these changes is critical to Australia’s economic and social future.

“The Future of Work Institute will collaborate with industry, government, not-for-profit, and volunteer organisations to design new ways of working that will maximise human potential. The Institute seeks to understand and help meet future challenges facing society as we transition to new ways of working.”

Professor John Phillimore, Executive Director of the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy, will lead a public policy research program at the Future of Work Institute, which has already secured State Government support.

The public policy program will aim to ensure Australia remains competitive and generates high-value and high-wage jobs, with a particular focus on STEM-based industries in WA, while also providing input into efforts to diversify the State’s economy.

The Future of Work Institute will include senior and early career researchers, postgraduate students, and professionals dedicated to building Australia’s capability to embrace opportunities in the changing world of work.

Curtin and other parties including industry and the Australian Research Council will invest approximately $20 million over the next five years in the Institute. The Western Australian Government has also provided a one-off grant of $150,000 towards its establishment.

The Institute will be centred at the Curtin Graduate School of Business, located at 78 Murray Street, Perth. Further information can be found online here.