SA defence link: Flinders in Maritime Innovation Challenge

A new Maritime Innovation Challenge to foster international research collaboration by some of the world’s finest engineering minds is being unveiled by Fincantieri, CETENA and Flinders University at the Pacific 2017 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney.

The Fincantieri-Flinders-CETENA Maritime Innovation Challenge will see Fincantieri and its research subsidiary CETENA fund and support proposals submitted by Flinders University researchers in the area of maritime research.

This initiative is based on an innovation challenge funded by Fincantieri in Italy, first example of its kind, where the company has long been promoting a series of activities in the field of Open Innovation, a model of collaboration between companies and research facilities emerged in recent years, especially in areas with the highest rate of innovation, such as ICT and Biotech, and in the most advanced countries in terms of technology.

Photo courtesy Fincantieri

The initiative will also see Flinders University researchers collaborate with their counterparts from the University of Genoa, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Flinders University earlier this year, with the aim of supporting and selecting innovative technology projects to be industrialised

The Maritime Innovation Challenge builds upon the relationship already established between Flinders University and Fincantieri, which has already seen Flinders University students undertake internships with Fincantieri in Italy.

Reflecting Fincantieri’s commitment to support and harness Australian sovereign capability, Fincantieri Australia Chairman Mr Dario Deste says the global shipbuilder is excited by the prospect of Flinders’ leading researchers applying their knowledge to research that addresses the needs of the maritime sector.

“The fast pace of technological and socio-economic change means we need to think cleverly about how we develop maritime capacity – addressing the challenges of the future requires focused research and hard evidence” Mr Deste says.

“Fincantieri is committed to supporting Australian innovation, and our burgeoning relationship with Flinders and its exceptional researchers exemplifies that commitment,” he says.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling, Fincantieri Australia Chairman Dario Deste and CETENA President Sandro Scarrone seal the deal at the International Maritime Expo, Pacific 2017.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says the initiative provides an opportunity for Flinders to showcase its leading defence research on the international stage.

“We’re delighted to be growing our relationship with Fincantieri in a meaningful way that will make a positive difference to an accelerating global industry. This initiative lays down the challenge to our researchers to think outside the box to find innovative solutions to real world maritime needs,” Professor Stirling says.

“An example of this thinking is Flinders research that harnessed fibre optics used in gastrointestinal medicine to address pressure and noise challenges in submarines. We thank Fincantieri and CETENA for their investment in innovative research, and the enormous potential it presents,” he says.

The President and CEO of CETENA, Mr Sandro Scarrone, was also present for the signing of the agreement. CETENA will work collaboratively with Flinders University and University of Genoa researchers on the Maritime Innovation Challenge.

“CETENA has a long history of working with leading Italian research institutions such as the University of Genoa. We are thrilled to be bringing this collaboration to Australia and look forward to working with Flinders University,” Mr Scarrone says.

The Maritime Innovation Challenge will open for submissions this month, with project proposals to be reviewed by December 2017.

The MoU signed between Fincantieri and Flinders University earlier this year aimed to develop specific research and development collaboration between the two organisations with this initiative clearly demonstrating this in a practical manner.

Fincantieri is one of three shipbuilders short-listed by the Australian Government to participate in the Competitive Evaluation Process for the Future Frigates – SEA 5000 program, which foresees the construction of nine frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.

Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups and number one by diversification and innovation. It is a leader in cruise ship design and construction and a reference player in all high-tech shipbuilding industry sectors, from naval to offshore vessels, high-complexity special vessels and ferries to mega-yachts, and including ship repairs and conversions, systems and components production and after-sales services.

Headquartered in Trieste in Italy, the group has built more than 7,000 vessels and currently employs almost 19,400 workers in 20 shipyards around the world.

CETENA S.p.A, a company within the Fincantieri Group, is dedicated to research and consultancy in the naval and maritime field. Since the foundation in 1962, CETENA has been involved in national and international research activities and has carried out research and consultancy and technical assistance for shipyards, shipowners, navies and universities, with a wide range activities on board, development of specific products, laboratory tests, transfer of technology and training activities in maritime field for civil and naval sectors.

Flinders University is at the frontline of defence-oriented teaching, research and development – delivering work-ready graduates and innovative R&D to the defence industry in the areas of:

  • Maritime engineering
  • Nanotechnology
  • Energetics
  • Robotics
  • Systems engineering
  • Control and imaging
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business management and leadership.
Flinders researchers at the international maritime conference in Nantes, France held on 27-29 September 2017.

Flinders researchers including Professor David Lewis, Professor Jamie Quinton and Associate Professor Karl Sammut this month presented their latest research at an international conference in France. Flinders postgraduate Bradley Donnelly also presented at the 14th International Conference on Fast Sea Transportation (FAST 2017) which shared many aspects of research and technology applications in sea transport.

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