Tomorrow's Technologies

"Science, innovative thinking and technology have dramatically changed the way you and I live." DR MEGAN CLARKE, CEO OF THE CSIRO

The world of advanced technology is evolving quickly. Photonics, optics, quantum technology, and nanotechnologies are key enabling or ‘frontier’ technologies for the 21st century. They are essential drivers for growing industry sectors such as communication, transport, manufacturing, and information technologies. In fact, the telecommunication and information technology revolution of recent years is the result of advances in photonics that allowed vastly higher communications bandwidths over longer distances.

Australia is at the forefront of developments in these technological fields. Global companies in a range of major industries are benefiting from Australian innovations in aeronautics, electronics, computing, and health to name a few. These technologies also represent thriving fields of research in Australia. They are delivering significant breakthroughs that will have long- lasting impacts on the way we live. One of the most outstanding Australian developments is the invention of WiFi, which makes wireless communication possible.

Dr Megan Clarke, CEO of the CSIRO, is embracing the development of these emerging technologies. A member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, Dr Clarke began her career as a mine geologist and has worked in mineral exploration, mine geology, and research and development management. She says, “science, innovative thinking and technology have dramatically changed the way you and I live – creating radical advances in every segment of our life. These things have brought the world closer and every day, indeed every second of every day, we see new inventive, groundbreaking trends emerging that will continue to change life as we now know it on our planet and even those beyond.”

An undergraduate science degree is an ideal base for opportunities in photonics, optics, quantum technology and nanotechnology. For example, a wide variety of career options exist within the area of nanoscience, including chemists, engineers, physicists, computer, and materials scientists. As in many other science-related fields, postgraduate qualifications are often essential or highly beneficial.

Both industries and governments around the world identify these technologies as priority areas. They have attracted substantial research and development funding.. Many career opportunities have strong industrial and international linkages.

A sample of the career opportunities in the areas of photonics, optics, quantum technology, and nanotechnology is outlined below:

  • Computer scientist: develops software tools for modeling complex systems
  • Engineer: manufactures, machines and manipulates material to smaller and smaller dimensions
  • Industrial chemist/materials scientist: develops methods for synthesising and assembling extremely small structures atom-by-atom
  • Medical physicist: involved in the commissioning, calibration, safe operation and maintenance of diagnostic medical instruments
  • Nanotechnologist: develops new experimental methods to manipulate atoms and molecules
  • Optics engineer: develops optic and photonic components for scientific instruments
  • Photonic research scientist: develops the next generation of photonic devices for data communications.

Average salaries

  • Research and development: $80,000
  • Technical scientist: $80,000


Industry bodies

Courses to consider

Consider enrolling in one of the following courses and majors to prepare yourself for a career working with Tomorow's Technologies.

Our courses: