Professor Ron Johnston

BSc, PhD, FTSE
School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Executive Director, Australian Centre for Innovation and International Competitiveness Limited

J12 - The School of Information Technologies
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 3934
Fax +61 2 9351 3974

Website Australian Centre for Innovation

School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Biographical details

Professor Ron Johnston, Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Innovation, is one of Australia's leading thinkers about the way technology shapes our future.

He was educated as a scientist in Australia and the UK, and worked for many years in Europe and the US in the private sector, international organisations and universities. He has published more than 200 books, articles and reports, covering a broad range of issues related to science and technology policy and management.

Professor Johnston's role in Australia has been recognised by his election to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and by his appointment as Deputy Chair of the Australian Science and Technology Engineering Council, Director of the Australian Commission for the Future, Trustee of the Powerhouse Museum, member of the Australian Manufacturing Council, and a member of the NSW Innovation Council. He has recently been appointed a Life Fellow of the Powerhouse Museum.

Professor Johnston has been associated with the University of Sydney for twenty years.

Research interests

Professor Ron Johnston has been working for more than 30 years on pioneering a better understanding of how science and technology contribute to our economic and social development, the characteristics of the global knowledge economy and the processes and culture of innovation.

"My overarching aim is to address the challenges of the future through innovation. This translates into projects such as examining the potential for emerging nano-, bio- and information technologies to transform the ways in which ageing people can live and thrive in an intelligent and supportive home of their own; exploring potential applications of nanotechnology to Australia's food and construction industries; promoting more effective social innovation through networking and 'experimental spaces'; and enhancing the capacity to prioritise research needs in the ASEAN nations in order to develop sustainability and resilience.

"One of my earlier research projects explored the conditions for the establishment of a knowledge economy in Central Australia. This resulted in the establishment of the Desert Knowledge Precinct in Alice Springs, which is now providing the infrastructure to support new knowledge-based industries, companies and jobs in the region.

"My work involves accessing information, knowledge and people with relevant expertise all over the world. It requires a breadth of knowledge across a wide range of technologies, and the ability to integrate this into socioeconomic and environmental contexts.

"I have been working in this field for more than 30 years, the past 20 of which have been associated with the University of Sydney."

Teaching and supervision

ENGG1061 - Advanced Engineering 1A

ENGG2062 - Engineering Project: Business Plan 2 Adv

ENGG4061 - Innovation/Technology Commercialisation

ENGG5001 - Professional Development

ENGG5204 - Engineering Professional Practice

ENGG5214 - Management of Technology

ENGG5215 - International Engineering Strategies and Operations

ENGG5216 - Management of Engineering Innovation

Awards and honours

  • Commonwealth Scholarship, 1961
  • Shell Honours Scholarship, 1964
  • University of Manchester Scholarship, 1965
  • Scholarship of the Worshipful Company of Salters, 1966
  • Fulbright Scholar, 1968
  • Fellow, Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, 1990
  • Centenary Medallist, 2002
  • Life Fellow, Powerhouse Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, 2008

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Journals

  • Johnston, R. (2012). Developing the capacity to assess the impact of foresight. Foresight, 14(1), 56-68. [More Information]
  • Boden, M., Johnston, R., Scapolo, F. (2012). The role of FTA in responding to grand challenges: A new approach for STI policy? Science and Public Policy, 39(2), 135-139. [More Information]

2012

  • Johnston, R. (2012). Developing the capacity to assess the impact of foresight. Foresight, 14(1), 56-68. [More Information]
  • Boden, M., Johnston, R., Scapolo, F. (2012). The role of FTA in responding to grand challenges: A new approach for STI policy? Science and Public Policy, 39(2), 135-139. [More Information]

For support on your academic profile contact Research Support.