French-SA submarine summit focuses on higher education needs

Associate Professor Karl Sammut, director of the Flinders Centre for Maritime Engineering, Control and Imaging (CMECI), shows some of the French delegates the Flinders autonomous marine vessel at the marine testing tank at Tonsley on 1 June 2017.

Flinders University will reinforce its existing relationships with French research institutions at a landmark workshop in Adelaide this week focused on meeting the workforce needs of Australia’s $50bn Future Submarine Program.

The first South Australian-French Tertiary Education and Research Workshop, hosted by the State Government and the Embassy of France in Australia, began yesterday and will run until 1 June at the National Wine Centre.

The workshop aims to help tailor higher education courses to the workforce needs of South Australian-based businesses who will be involved in building Australia’s future submarines. It also aims to foster productive research collaborations that will enhance the manufacturing and performance of the submarines.

Flinders University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint, who is attending the workshop, says it’s a great opportunity to build upon the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed earlier this year between Flinders and four of France’s leading Graduate Schools of Engineering.

DCNS, the French submarine builder selected to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines, was at that signing in France, and will also have a strong presence at the Adelaide workshop this week.

“This workshop is an exciting opportunity to ensure South Australia’s higher education sector is truly responsive to the needs of industry by producing graduates and other skilled workers that meet the needs of Australia’s Future Submarine Program,” says Professor Saint.

“Growing collaboration between South Australia and France’s education and business communities will not only strengthen the role of Flinders University and our state in Defence and maritime research, but will also facilitate important social and cultural engagement that we hope will contribute to the smooth running of the program.

“The work we do this week will reinforce South Australia’s position as an agile, responsive and forward-thinking state capable of the economic transformation necessary to ensure its long-term prosperity.

“The signing of Flinders’ MoU with ENSTA ParisTech, École Centrale de Nantes, CentraleSupélec and École Polytechnique earlier this year means that Flinders is already in a strong position for future engagement with France.”

Over 150 people are attending the workshop, including 30 delegates from French universities and companies, and nine delegates from DCNS’ Paris office.

Flinders University will be hosting all of the workshop delegates at its Tonsley site tomorrow for a tour.

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Flinders has previously established strong French cultural and linguistic ties and maintains several other key alliances with French universities.

 

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