The need for convergence
The future of our health and wellbeing depends on the biomedical discoveries of today. Technology and medical sciences are developing at revolutionary rates never before seen in society. Today’s patients have access to technologies like bionic eyes, neural implants to restore paralysis, personalised cancer treatments and 3D-printed bone replacements. New solutions for medical ailments are being discovered as you read this, and yet too often these advancements are kept behind closed laboratory doors or journal paywalls, inaccessible to the general public.
The Convergence Science Network believes that these developments in biomedical science belong in the minds and knowledge of those who will ultimately benefit – you, and every member of society. We believe that bridging the gap between scientists and the public is essential in building more understanding and informed trust for science, thereby creating a more empowered community.
The Network shares the knowledge, expertise, aspirations, problems and ideas of convergence science among our community of researchers, academics, businesses, government officials, teachers, students and the wider public.
We are in Melbourne, Australia, a hub of excellence in biomedical and clinical research with a global reputation for excellence in biomedical and clinical research and the strongest cluster in the Southern Hemisphere. Its universities and research institutions secure almost half of the Australian government’s annual competitive health and medical research grants.
How can you get involved?
We offer a wide range of events and opportunities for the public to engage with these discoveries, and the scientists behind them.
- We host forums and panel discussion events, offering dialogue across scientific disciplines, and provide an opportunity to have questions answered directly by leaders in the field.
- Our popular Opening the Vault series invites the public to visit scientist’s laboratories and workplaces, to gain an understanding of where and how these discoveries take place, and the day-to-day life of a scientist.
- Hear the research of a world leader in biomedical science at our annual Graeme Clark Oration.
- Learn about our many young, emerging and prominent scientists in the field in our people profiles.
- Become part of our vast network as we liaise scientists with schools, businesses and sections of the government. We hold student-focussed events that give inquisitive minds an exclusive angle of emerging science and technologies.
- Our events are free to attend, and many are available to watch online.
We are living through a revolutionary period in the biomedical sciences.
Teams of scientists are developing bionic eyes to restore vision, stem cells and gene therapy treatments, 3D bioprinting of organs, brain-machine-interfaces are restoring function to people with disabilities, nanotechnology-based cancer therapies are in wide use, and Artificial Intelligence is finding growing applications across healthcare, such as predicting Epileptic seizures.
These advances have been realised by the convergence of the biological and physical sciences, engineering and computing, sometimes referred to as the third revolution in the life sciences. This follows the first revolution in molecular and cellular biology in the 1950’s and the second revolution in genetics in the 1990’s.
This convergence revolution – applying knowledge and new perspectives from different scientific disciplines and come to conclusions they may not have otherwise reached - is transforming biomedical research and the future of healthcare and underpins new innovations, businesses and economic growth.
An early example of convergence in Australia was the integration of surgery, electronics, materials science and neuroscience, led by Professor Graeme Clark AC, at the University of Melbourne, that resulted in the world’s first successful multi-channel Cochlear implant, that has restored hearing to several hundred thousand people across the world. Australian researchers across Melbourne are at the forefront in the development of convergence-driven solutions impacting medical science.
Since 2008, the Convergence Science Network has proudly taken a leadership role in Victoria and Australia to promote a public understanding of convergence science and how the biomedical sciences are bringing about life-changing impact.