Digital Twin education, and research. What was said...



By Robyn Francis | Global Engagement Coordinator | Smart Cities Council


Day two at Digital Twin Week finished up with a roundtable on Digital Twin education and research.

The Australia New Zealand Digital Twin Blueprint recommends the creation of a Digital Twin Research Action Plan for Australia and New Zealand respectively. The Blueprint also highlights skills development needs if we are to build a thriving Digital Twin market in the region.


The purpose of this session was to share insights into education and research needs for Digital Twin capability development, and identify priorities for action and investment.


The roundtable featured guest perspectives from academia, government and industry to help shape the dialogue, including:

Kat Salm | FrontierSI

Jack Barton | GRID_UNSW

Damien Cutcliffe | WSP

Daniel Duderec | DBM Vircom


Using interactive tools, we sampled the attendees to gain insight into the educational background of the audience before digging into meaty questions. Topics we explored included:

  • What formal Digital Twin education looks like now and in the future? Is it needed?

  • Key areas of study?

  • What we are / will be struggling with when it comes to successful Digital Twin outcomes?

  • What Digital Twin research may look like in 2024, 2030?

  • What graduates will need to know? Now, new, and next?

  • What expertise is needed to bring it together to make it all work?


As we looked at what is hindering Digital Twin outcomes we discussed the overlap into digital transformation as a whole - digital literacy, digital inclusion and entirely new ways of working. We discussed other challenges such as data availability, the trade-offs between OPEX waste and upfront CAPEX, maintaining ethics and data privacy - all of which we look forward to unpacking here on the hub in the coming weeks.


On education, we debated where Digital Twin education is needed and what the key areas for study may be with most noting that undergraduate subjects would be a good area for future focus with modules being applicable to a range of disciplines from engineering to law, but that the need for education extends right through the working force.


At the intersection of research and skills and education lies a great topic. Our guest speakers talked through key areas of study as well as sticky points that would aid project acceleration, such as how we can get projects together to see what they’re learning to identify common challenges and how the research could be shared with Government. Ontologies and how we may move between standards for different use cases are also useful pieces of information worth sharing.


To wrap up the session, we looked at what Digital Twin research may look like in 2024, and then 2030 with words like multidisciplinary, AI-built 3D modeling, real-world applications, multi-disciplinary collaborative learning and standards harmonisation popping up.

Stay tuned for more as we unpack the learning from this great roundtable in the coming weeks.


A recording of this session will be made available on the Smart Cities Academy website on November 1 2021. Subscribers to the DT Hub will be notified when available.

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