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Precision Driven Health announces sponsorship of Hack Aotearoa 2020

Precision Driven Health (PDH) is excited to return in 2020 as a major partner for Hack Aotearoa. Building on the success of the 2019 conference – the first of its kind in New Zealand – Hack Aotearoa 2020 continues to innovate and will include a health datathon in addition to the main Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare conference. This globally recognised Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Critical Data event aims to spark cross-disciplinary collaboration and learning of data science to improve healthcare. Hosted by the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Critical Data, the event will see local and international data scientists, academics and healthcare professionals come together to present opportunities for the use of data science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in health. The overarching theme for the 2020 event is ‘Advancing the Quadruple Aim’, while the ethical use of data, and the use of data for Māori health equity, are key event themes. Hack Aotearoa is an exciting opportunity to advance the digital health and data science landscape in Aotearoa. During the datathon, healthcare professionals and data scientists will have the chance to work with the MIT eICU Collaborative Care and MIMIC Critical Care datasets. The aim is to harness insights from these datasets and search for better ways to diagnose and treat critical care patients. Precision Driven Health returns as a major partner for the second year running. Chief Executive Dr Kevin Ross is looking forward to the event. “As New Zealand’s premier health data science collaboration, we are looking forward to another gathering that looks to unlock the value of data for our population. Hack Aotearoa combines local expertise and values with international know-how to bring a unique, hands-on experience over a few days,” says Dr Ross. Philips ANZ is another major partner of Hack Aotearoa. As a leading health technology company, Philips ANZ provides connected care solutions powered by advanced analytics in order to improve health outcomes and the delivery of care. At the crux of transitioning towards value-based healthcare, the measurement of system-wide health outcomes and the improvement of patient care delivery is based on a combination of multiple datasets. “As the owner of the largest translational ICU dataset in the world composed of 7.5 million ICU episodes, Philips is proud to contribute to events like Hack Aotearoa in order to drive academic and practical insights for New Zealand. We need to look at new, more efficient ways to increase access to care and improve care collaboration. Philips believes Hack Aotearoa is a great setting to start those conversations,” says Joe Cain, Business Manager Population Health, Philips ANZ. Hack Aotearoa will take place 17th to 19th January 2020 at the Owen G Glenn Building, University of Auckland. About MIT Critical Data MIT Critical Data is an affiliation of research labs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who are engaged in research in and around data that has a critical impact on people’s health. About Precision Driven Health The Precision Driven Health partnership (PDH), established in 2016, is one of the most ambitious data science research initiatives to be undertaken in New Zealand. The partnership unites the health IT sector with healthcare providers and universities to create health and commercial opportunities for New Zealanders. Research is focused on applying new data science techniques to understand the massive volume of data about an individual captured by health information systems, consumer devices, social networks, genetic testing and other sources. To date, PDH has supported more than 75 projects in health data science, including summer and postgraduate scholarships, a joint PDH-HRC Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme, and multi-million dollar discovery and transformation programmes in several areas, including de-identification and deep learning. PDH researchers are also exploring vital concepts such as bias in machine learning, the ethics of AI use, and consent paradigms for enabling the next wave of health data research. Find out more at www.precisiondrivenhealth.com.

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Regional and Rural Schools take out National Digital Titles

Smaller regional and rural schools from across New Zealand swept the National Finals for the Tahi Rua Toru Tech in-school challenge this year.

The 2019 National Winners were announced at a gala event at TSB Arena in Wellington, following 10 regional finals held across New Zealand in October. The National Finals were attended by the regional winning teams with students coming from around the country.

As part of the Tahi Rua Toru Tech Challenge, teams of 3-4 students find a problem in their local school or community and use digital technologies to solve it. Teams are paired up with tech industry mentors and given support and resources. Over 6500 students participated in the Challenge this year.

IT Professionals New Zealand CEO Paul Matthews said today that “Regional and Rural New Zealand were the winners this year, with winning teams coming from Hāwea Flat near Wanaka, Morrinsville, Rotorua and New Plymouth”.

At the Discovery level (years 0-5), Hāwea Flat School’s Team Happy Hawea took out the title, completing a set of challenges in the fastest time. It came down to split-seconds in the end and was hotly contested.

Morrinsville Intermediate’s Team Thunderbolts took out the First Challenge (years 6-8), creating an app game to encourage fitness by getting the user to move around Morrinsville to scan QR codes whilst seeing the ‘Herd of Cows’ (sculptures) on display within their town.

John Paul College, Rotorua’s Team ShumbaLeon won the Secondary level (years 9-10), created a website showcasing cultural diversity in their school and a platform for students to share their own stories and culture with other students.

And Sacred Heart Girls College, New Plymouth’s Team Red took out Senior Secondary (years 11-13), creating a medication box that sends bluetooth messages to your phone to remind you to take your medication, and has a motion sensor and lock and software designed to reduce under or overdosing.

The Ministry of Education’s Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid helped announce the winners and was seriously impressed by the level of innovation. “A huge scale of learning has clearly gone on in the challenge. The majority of the students didn’t know how to write any code at the start – and yet that was such a stand-out feature of the innovations I’ve seen,” MacGregor-Reid said.

As part of the National Finals, the Digital Technologies Teachers Aotearoa (DTTA) and IT Professionals New Zealand recognised an influential teacher who has made a huge difference to digital tech. This year the Ali Chivers Teacher Influence Award went to Julie MacMahon from St Hilda’s Collegiate School in Dunedin.

“I’ve known Julie for several years, working with her on bringing about the changes to the Digital Technologies curriculum. She’s an inspiring and energetic teacher who contributes so much to her students and their profession,” Matthews said. “A very worthy choice.”

The Challenge will enter its third year in 2020 and is part of a suite of resources and tools to help teachers and schools implement changes to Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko in the Curriculum in a safe and supported way.

ENDS

About Tahi Rua Toru Tech

Partnering with the Ministry of Education, the IT industry is supporting the introduction of the new Digital Technologies & Hangarau Matihiko (DT&HM) curriculum into schools and Kura with the 123Tech Challenge.

In the challenge, small teams of 3-4 students complete a project-based challenge either in-class in schools, or through a local Code Club. Most will complete it as a classroom activity, but the model caters to both. The 123Tech Challenge is for everyone, not just tech geniuses (although they’re welcome too!). Schools are also partnered with an industry mentor, and the Challenge provides all the guidance and support students need to make a real difference.

Tahi Rua Toru Tech is being delivered by a partnership of not-for profit organisations led by IT Professionals NZ and started in its current form in 2018. 

The National Finals were held on Thursday 5th December 2019.

To learn more about Tahi Rua Toru Tech visit https://123tech.nz 

To learn more about Digital Tech/Hangarau Matihiko, http://education.govt.nz/digitech.

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Government’s proposed Landfill Levy increase will have no impact on plastic waste

This week the Government announced a long awaited and welcome proposal to increase the landfill levy in order to encourage behaviour change away from dumping to more recovery, recycling and reuse. However, the increased levy will have no effect on the volumes of plastic waste entering the economy, our landfills and the environment, according to plastic2parliament. “Currently plastics account for around 8% of total waste by weight, but as much as 20% of landfill by volume and that’s an enormous proportion of the waste problem.” said Wade Bishop, initiator of the plastic2parliament letter writing initiative. (Ref. Recycle.co.nz) “With the landfill levy based on weight there’s no incentive in this to move away from plastic packaging or other avoidable plastics that end up in our landfills and environment.” Wade Bishop said. Plastic2parliament is encouraging New Zealanders to ask all political parties what their plastic reduction policies are by penning letters to MPs in Parliament, via the Parliamentary free-post address while also stuffing their large envelopes full of non-recyclable plastics to illustrate the plastic waste problem. “We are asking political parties and Government to focus regulation on the producers of plastic packaging targeted at simply making less of it.” said Bishop. The global oil industry is currently investing US$180 billion in new plastic production plants to increase production by 40% in the next 10 years. This immense supply-pressure will create a further explosion in plastic volumes here in New Zealand and the increased landfill levy will have zero effect on that. This is an over-production issue that needs urgent regulation where the problem starts: the producers.” he said. The Plastic2parliament initiative believes that an immediate impact can be made on plastic waste by extending bans across wide categories of avoidable single-use plastics, such as cutlery, dishes, cups, takeaway containers and even bubble and pallet wraps. The initiative also advocates a Plastic Tax on imported virgin plastics used to manufacture single-use packaging and on imported new plastic packaging. “While the landfill levy will have a negligible effect on the cost of dumping plastic packaging for New Zealanders, it still gets under your skin having to pay even more to get rid of a toxic waste that you didn’t ask for in the first place.” Wade Bishop said. Plastic2parliament continues to grow quickly with membership numbers of the Facebook Group reaching more than 1000 people sending more than 720 letters and plastic parcels to MPs since beginning in early October this year, including another 90 to Minister for the Environment, David Parker, this week. ABOUT PLASTIC2PARLIAMENT Plastic2parliament is a letter-writing initiative started by Wade Bishop of Christchurch which encourages New Zealanders concerned about single-use plastics to include these products with their letters to M.P.s using the Parliamentary Free-post address. The purpose of the initiative is to creatively emphasise how these non-recyclable products cannot be avoided by consumers and that the actual cause of plastic waste is over-production and use by manufacturers. We seek to have M.P.s advocate for meaningful plastic waste reduction policy within their respective Party focused on packaging producers. Oil companies are investing US$180 billion right now to increase virgin plastic production by 40% before 2030. This enormous supply pressure has already created an explosion in single-use packaging globally. New Zealand will not be immune to these supply pressures and is poorly placed to deal with the waste volumes that will eventuate. (Ref. theguardian.com; and sciencemag.org)

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