Flinders University has become a member of BAE Systems Australia’s Joint Open Innovation Network (JOIN), a national initiative to drive research, development and innovation of defence technologies.
Flinders involvement means the three key South Australian universities are network members, supporting new tertiary engineering scholarships, internships and undergraduate industry placements.
BAE Systems Australia has committed to contributing up to $10 million to the initiative that will also involve the creation of new defence-focused courses and targeted research and development.
The Joint Open Innovation Network will focus on activities to support the upgrade of the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) and the development of future JORN and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance capability.
It also aims to support industry with the establishment an Innovation laboratory that will provide a secure facility to allow greater collaboration to develop new or improve existing defence technologies.
“I am delighted that this initiative is expanding and look forward to other academic partners and industry joining us to support development of cutting edge technology to meet the future defence needs of the country,” BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Mr Glynn Phillips said.
Flinders University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said the move reinforces Flinders’ strength in the defence sector.
“Industry partnerships such as this are key to creating a skilled workforce and driving research with impact in a strategically important sector for Australia as we increasingly become a smart economy. It means our students graduate with sought after real-world experience,” Professor Stirling said.
“The relationships that Flinders is forging in defence here and internationally ensures we’re at the forefront of innovation and contributing to the transformation of the economy.”
Twenty eight university graduates and six interns are starting roles with BAE Systems. Amongst them are Flinders law graduate Alana Burgess and Flinders software graduate Saxon Bell, who joined Professor Stirling and Mr Phillips at Tonsley to mark the agreement.
A number of final year engineering projects will soon be offered by the company, together with scholarships for first year (2016) engineering students.
BAE Systems will support the Joint Open Innovation Network participants to fast track new technologies and products developed through the program to export markets through its global supply chain.