Skip to Content

Monash Data Futures Institute

Using AI and data science for social good

Meet the team

Prof Joanna Batstone

Professor Joanna Batstone

Joanna is the inaugural Director of the Monash Data Futures Institute and is an international leading authority on AI and data science.

Following an international search, Prof Batstone joins Monash from IBM, where she was Vice President, Innovation, IBM Corporate Strategy.

Joanna will be responsible for bringing together data science and AI capabilities from across the University. Prof Batstone’s role will also continue to establish a digital ecosystem which fosters collaborative interdisciplinary research and promotes lasting industry engagements.

An exceptional thought leader in the development and application of AI and data analytics, Joanna is passionate about the benefits of AI in driving lasting and transformative change for social good.

Geoff Web

Professor Geoff Webb
Research Director

Geoff is the founding Research Director of the Monash Data Futures Institute and an acclaimed international data scientist and technical advisor.

Geoff is Professor of Data Science in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University, and leads a research group investigating how to use data to best support effective evidence-based decision making and derive useful knowledge and insight.

Geoff’s work spans artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining, data analytics and big data. He has developed many pivotal machine learning algorithms that are widely deployed in a broad range of applications including manufacturing, finance, medicine, biology and geoscience.

His is an IEEE Fellow and his many awards include the prestigious inaugural Eureka Prize for Excellence in Data Science.

AI and data science for social good

There’s clear potential for AI and data science to positively impact the world. But there are also risks that AI will exaggerate society’s existing biases, prejudices and inequities. At Monash Data Futures, we firmly believe that AI should be a force for social good. This philosophy underpins everything we do, from the projects we support to the way we interact with end-users and other stakeholders.

The Impact of Change - AI and data science

Interested in learning more?

AI and data science in better governance and policy

The rapid evolution of AI and data science means that governance and policy must also adapt quickly. By working across the humanities and social sciences, as well as STEM subjects, we’re pioneering principles for ensuring AI has a positive influence.

This, combined with our industry and research relationships, international reach, and ability to scale at the micro and macro levels, enables us to support governments, enterprises and communities in building better policy and governance practices.

From the future of teaching and the responsible integration of AI technologies into classrooms to support personalised, learner-driven education, to partnering with the Australian Federal Police on the use of AI in monitoring criminal activity on the dark web, Monash Data Futures is creating change that will be felt around the world.

  • Revenge porn skyrockets

    Coronavirus has meant more time at home, more time online and more image-based abuse.

  • Running the numbers game

    The real-time SCRUB project is tracking how groups of people around the world are behaving amid the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Are 'smart' solutions really that smart?

    Should the word apply to an application that’s difficult to use and doesn’t take human needs into account? 

  • The new transparency

    COVID-19 is showing us how our reliance on smartphones renders everyday life more visible – and ultimately more controllable.

  • Six reasons why AI will never rule in the classroom

    Technology is threatening the role of the highly trained teacher, but the lack of human connection means machines will never replace them.

  • Reframing our future technology fears

    Don’t worry, your self-driving car won’t kill you – as long as research focuses on people and society, too.

  • Monash and Federal Police launch lab to tackle abhorrent material

    Monash University and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have joined forces to launch Artificial Intelligence for Law Enforcement and Community Safety (AiLECS) Lab, an initiative designed to help officers scan through thousands of confronting images and files faster with lower levels of emotional distress.

AI and data science changing health sciences

Monash has a long history of excellence in the health sciences, with our research breakthroughs changing millions of lives for the better.

With the application of AI and data science, we’re shaping the future of health in Australia and around the world.

From partnering with Google to establish the world’s first suicide monitoring system using AI-coded ambulance data, to exploring artificial consciousness as a key to healthy brain functioning, Monash Data Futures is tackling critical problems in our community health and healthcare systems to deliver better outcomes for all.

AI and data science in sustainable development

We’re harnessing AI and data science to deliver practical solutions at scale and with immediacy to current and future global challenges.

We’re using AI to model the behaviour of bees to optimise greenhouses for sustainable crop production, and informing legal policy and practice regarding the use of AI face-swapping technology to create fake pornography as a form of gendered image-based abuse.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are an essential part of Monash’s identity and the critical work that we do. Through Monash Data Futures, we’re using AI and data science as an accelerant for achieving these goals through direct and responsible action.

  • Chip, chip, hooray

    A new "optical micro-comb" chip can squeeze three times the traffic of the entire NBN through a single optical fibre.

  • Australia's first high-resolution vegetation map

    Monash University researchers have developed Australia’s first high-resolution vegetation map to help Victoria manage bushfires and floods.

  • Faking it, for real

    The popularity of face-swapping software has resulted in the disturbing trend of 'deep fakes' that can be used for nefarious purposes.

  • AI fighting social injustice - Monash Tech Talks

    Moderated by Professor Jon Whittle with world-renowned AI experts Professor Milind Tambe and Professor Ann Nicholson, this eye-opening panel discussion explores how AI is helping to fight social injustices such as terrorism, child exploitation and more.

Core technologies

Monash Data Futures Institute is underpinned by the University’s network of world-class research infrastructure, including the new dedicated Data Science and AI Platform .

The Data Science and AI Platform provides a core university capability designed to aggregate the data science and AI technical resources. In conjunction with the Institute, the platform facilitates access to expert support within the university and makes them centrally accessible to the research, education and industry partners.

Collectively, we form a powerful catalyst of profound data-driven change, accelerating and translating discoveries into world changing solutions.



  • AI and disaster response - AI for Good Global Summit


    This webinar will discuss the potential role of AI in reducing disaster risks in vulnerable countries and globally, and thus advance implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Sustainable Development Goals.

    Featuring Monash Data Futures Institute Director, Professor Joanna Batstone on the speaking panel.

  • AI and Creativity - AI for Good Global Summit


    Human collaboration with an AI Musician This event is presented in partnership with the Monash Data Futures Institute, Monash University. This presentation will include music performances and an interactive Q&A featuring researchers at Monash University in Melbourne Australia, and Goldsmiths, University of London in the UK.

    In this unique music performance, Dr Alon Ilsar, percussionist and music technology researcher from Monash, and Professor Mark d’Inverno, London Jazz pianist and AI researcher from Goldsmiths, will be joined by an AI musician for a live improvisation between humans and AI.

  • MDFI Australian Public Attitudes Towards AI


    The Monash Data Futures Institute (in partnership with Monash University's Faculties of Law, Education and Arts), is proud to present this first major study of Australian’s attitudes to AI. We believe it to be vital to paving the way for more frequent and systematic contributions of public opinion, to the formation of public policy, shaping the future of AI technology in Australia and educating the public about AI’s benefits and risks.

    Date: 28 October, 2020
    Time: 12:00 - 1:30pm
    Moderator: Ariel Boggle, ABC tech journalist for RN
    Speakers: Prof Neil Selwyn, Faculty of Education, Monash University

  • 2020 AI and Data Science for Social Good showcase


    Engaging and compelling, this showcase brings together researchers from HASS and STEM faculties at Monash, as well as industry partners to explore research challenges in these three areas.

  • AI for Good Global Summit


    We are major sponsors of global leading initiatives, including the UN/ITU AI for Good Global Summit 2020 and 2021.

Past events

  • Change Maker series: Ethics in AI


    Here is the recording of Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (AI) webinar presented by the Monash Law, in collaboration with Monash IT, Monash Data Futures Institute and the Better Governance and Policy Initiative. Watch an interdisciplinary panel discuss various aspects of AI ethics while looking closely at Australia's AI Ethics Framework, released in 2019 by Data61 and underpinned by eight ethical principles for AI.

    You'll hear from Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Liz Campbell, Dr Campbell Wilson in a panel expertly moderated by Professor the Hon. Kevin Bell AM QC.

  • Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging presented by Monash Data Futures Institute


    A recording of the Special AI Neuroscience on Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging. Professor Meng Law, Department of Neuroscience at Monash University, introduces Associate Professor Peter Brotchie, St Vincent's Hospital, who speaks on Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging.

    The presentation covered:
    i. An introduction to artificial intelligence (AI),
    ii. How artificial intelligence is being incorporated into radiology
    iii. AI in mammography screening - a project at St Vincent’s
    iv. Neuroradiology AI projects under development at St Vincent’s

  • Unlocking Your Inner Eye. Artistic Intelligence with Erica Tandori


    Hosted by: Changing the story
    Featuring: Dr Erica Tandori, Artist in Residence, Monash University, Melbourne Australia. This podcast episode was produced in partnership with the Monash Data Futures Institute, Monash University.

    Dr Erica Tandori is expanding the frontiers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Art. Her work at Monash University focuses on communicating science through art for the visually impaired. She is now expanding this work and utilising robotics in her artistic creations to create a multi-sensory experience.

  • AI for Better Governance at the IEEE AI4Good


    In a partnership between the Monash Data Futures Institute, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash IT, and the Better Governance and Policy Initiative, Lynn Miller presents the inter-disciplinary research report - AI for Better Governance at the IEEE AI4Good Conference.

    This event was hosted on Wednesday September 23 at 7:30pm.

Find a researcher

Interested to partner or collaborate with a researcher in the area of AI and data science?

Featured profiles

Search for a researcher