Research centre to transform our naval industry

What: Official launch of the Research Training Centre for Naval Design & Manufacturing, the ARC Training Centre for Transforming Australia's Naval Manufacturing Industry

Where: Model Test Basin, Australian Maritime College

When: Tomorrow (Friday, 22 August) from 1.30pm-2.30pm

Who: University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen, Australian Maritime College Principal Professor Neil Bose, Federal Member for Bass the Honourable Andrew Nikolic MP, Australian Research Council CEO Professor Aidan Byrne and Australian Maritime College project lead investigator Dr Jonathan Binns.

Australia's ambitious multi-billion dollar naval shipbuilding program is set to become the largest commitment this nation has ever made to Defence, comprising the design and manufacture of new fleets of submarines, future frigates and patrol boats.

The success of these major projects is reliant on training highly qualified engineers to solve key research and development questions.

A collaborative effort between the Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania, the University of Wollongong and Flinders University has resulted in the establishment of the Research Training Centre for Naval Design & Manufacturing.

University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen said the centre would deliver research solutions by supporting and connecting postdoctoral and postgraduate candidates with industry, university and Defence.

"This project will feed into the Australian naval manufacturing industry by creating a new cohort of industry-focused, broadly skilled engineers and researchers," Professor Peter Rathjen said.

"It provides an opportunity for 10 higher degree by research students and three postdoctoral fellows to undertake a combination of research and professional training in an industrial environment. These researchers will focus on developing advanced techniques to efficiently design, construct and sustain the naval platforms; providing significant economic benefits to the nation."

Australian Maritime College Principal Professor Neil Bose said the project would have far-reaching benefits.

"Each student and postdoctoral fellow will work on a specific industry-driven research project in collaboration with researchers from the three universities and two government organisations involved in the partnership. It includes the design and manufacture of the SEA1000 future submarines, whose construction alone will be Australia's largest engineering project," Professor Bose said.

The $3.8 million centre, funded through the Australian Research Council's Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme, is a collaboration between the University of Tasmania, University of Wollongong, Flinders University, ASC Pty Ltd, Babcock International, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Defence Materials Technology Centre, Thales Australia Ltd and PMB Defence Engineering Pty Ltd.

Also attending the launch will be Defence Science and Technology Organisation Maritime Division Chief Dr Janis Cocking, who will be awarded an honorary degree at the University of Tasmania's graduation ceremony in Launceston on Saturday, 23 August.

The University Council confers honorary degrees on people who are distinguished and outstanding scholars and have given exemplary service to the Commonwealth, the State or the University.

"Conferral of the degree of Doctor of Engineering honoris causa is a well-deserved and fitting acknowledgment of Janis Cocking's outstanding contributions to the University and to the State of Tasmania," Professor Rathjen said.

"Dr Cocking has played a substantial and active role in enhancing the interests, capabilities and international connections of AMC and the University. She has been the champion and major driver behind much of the extensive interaction between DSTO and AMC for many years. Her high-level support has culminated in important, strategic outcomes including Commonwealth Government support for major AMC facility upgrades and collaborative research projects. This has enhanced the reputations of both AMC and the University within the international defence community."

The honorary degree conferral follows the signing of a five-year Defence Science Partnering Deed between DSTO and the University designed to establish a collaborative alliance for mutually beneficial activities.

The objectives of the partnership are many but include improving mutual access to world-class research infrastructure and programs, developing capabilities and technologies, collaboration in niche areas of expertise and contributing to the promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools and the tertiary sector.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITY: AMC project lead investigator Dr Jonathan Binns will be available for interview and photo/filming opportunities following the official launch on Friday, 23 August at 2.30pm. Dr Janis Cocking will also be available for interview regarding her honorary degree at that time.

The Model Test Basin is Building 15 on the campus map

Download the campus map (PDF 166KB)

Information released by:
Communications and Media Office, University of Tasmania
Phone: 61 3 6324 9874 or 0438 408 314