Major research link with submarine project

Flinders University and four of France’s leading Graduate Schools of Engineering have signed a ground-breaking academic and research cooperation agreement relating to Australia’s Future Submarine Program.

The agreement between Flinders and a consortium comprised of ENSTA ParisTech, École Centrale de Nantes, CentraleSupélec and École Polytechnique was signed at a special ceremony signed in Paris this week.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will foster joint research projects, student and staff exchanges, and a new wave of Australian-French innovation and entrepreneurial projects related to the Future Submarine Program to be centred in Adelaide, South Australia. The selected design will be built at the ASC shipyard at Port Adelaide.

The signing of the MoU was witnessed by South Australia’s Minister for Higher Education and Skills Dr Susan Close and the Deputy Chief Executive of DCNS and the company’s general manager for Australia’s Future Submarine Program, Ms Marie-Pierre de Bailliencourt.

SA Education Minister Dr Susan Close, Professor Robert Saint and DCNS Deputy Chief Executive Ms Marie-Pierre de Bailliencourt, right, who is the company’s general manager for Australia’s Future Submarine Program.

Flinders University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint, who signed the MoU at the DCNS headquarters in Paris, says the agreement will foster an exchange of research and technical expertise that further strengthens the University’s maritime-related programs.

“This MoU signed with our new French partner institutions recognises the high regard in which Flinders’ capability in the areas of defence and maritime research is held,” Professor Saint says.

“The agreement will enhance our defence related endeavours and contribute to South Australia and Australia’s economic transformation.”

The French members of the consortium also welcomed the agreement, adding it was further recognition of the global value of their defence research strengths.

“Our alliance has a proud history of productively working with DCNS, the successful bidder for Australia’s Future submarine program,” the French consortium said. “The establishment of this consortium with Flinders University will foster an exchange of knowledge between Australia and France in relation to this project, and harness some of the world’s best research minds to ensure DCNS’s vessels set the standard for technological innovation.”

DCNS Executive vice-president of Human Resources and Operations Mr Alain Guillou welcomed the agreement.

“We would like to congratulate Flinders University and the French institutions on this exciting development which ties communities for the long term,” Mr Guillou said.

The MoU creates a consortium involving the five institutions, and further cements the friendship between France and Australia.


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

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