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Monash Data Futures Institute

Using AI and data science for social good

About Monash Data Futures

Artificial Intelligence and data science can change the world for the better.

At Monash Data Futures, we understand that the benefits of AI and data science are only achieved when we work across disciplines and sectors. We're creating transformative and lasting change in three key areas: better governance and policy, health sciences, and sustainable development.

Located in the heart of the Monash Precinct, Monash Data Futures is part of an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation. Our open-door partnerships with industry spark ambitious, best-in-class solutions that break down traditional disciplinary barriers.

The Monash Data Futures Institute supports the University's research priorities and is headed by Professor Jon Whittle, Dean of Monash IT and Professor Jordan Nash, Dean of Monash Science.

About Professor Jon Whittle and Professor Jordan Nash

  • Professor Jon Whittle
    Dean, Faculty of IT

    Professor Jon Whittle is the Dean of Monash IT, and a world-renowned expert in software engineering and human-computer interaction, with a particular interest in embedding human values in artificial intelligence. Professor Whittle has a long history in AI, including its application to space science at NASA.

  • Professor Jordan Nash
    Dean, Faculty of Science

    Professor Jordan Nash is the Dean of Monash Science. An experimental particle physicist for more than 25 years, Professor Nash also leads significant global scientific collaborations, including at CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research that operates the world’s largest physics laboratory).

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.

AI and data science changing 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

  • Google grant to establish world-first suicide monitoring system

    A breakthrough project, led by Professor Dan Lubman, is the sole recipient in Australia of a A$1.21 million grant from Google to establish a world-first suicide monitoring system.

  • A higher state of consciousness

    An interdisciplinary project aims to unlock one of the world's greatest mysteries, and potentially advance our understanding of machine learning.

  • Reassessing epilepsy

    A study has shown that those with a high risk of drug-resistant epilepsy should be considered early for non-drug therapies.

AI and data science changing 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.

  • 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 is underpinned by the University’s network of world-class research infrastructure, including the new dedicated AI and data analytics research platform.

These platforms are the catalyst for accelerating change – for translating discoveries into life-changing, industry-changing, world-changing solutions.

Through our research platforms and core technologies, we’re creating a community of collaboration where researchers and industry partners can converge to deliver focused, transformative research outcomes.

Future jobs

As technology advances at an exponential rate, industries are looking for new skill sets from university graduates. What are the professions of the future going to be?

Interested in mastering big data? Learn more about our new Bachelor of Applied Data Science.

Find a researcher

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

Search for a researcher