Exchange of new ideas with France

Leading French and Australian researchers have met in Paris to discuss the future of industry innovation.

Topics ranging from new technology to Industry 4.0 were covered by key representatives from Flinders University and CentraleSupélec, a major French Graduate School of Engineering, at a workshop titled ‘First Australo-French Meetings on Innovation for Industry of the Future’.

The French and Australian institutions are jointly creating a new community for innovation linked with industry and corporate partners.

The workshop included experts from Flinders University’s College of Science and Engineering, the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI), and New Venture Institute who led an Australian delegation with University of Queensland, the University of Adelaïde and University of Technology Sydney, in collaboration with the French institutions ENSTA-PT and Polytechnique, led by CentraleSupélec.

Together they tackled the crucial topic of industry for the future and its relationship to innovation with leading French defence-related firms such as Naval Group, Dassault Systèmes and Thalès, plus start-ups, incubators and accelerators.

“The Industry 4.0 revolution is underway and innovation is the main driver for the renewal of industry in the 21st century, particularly manufacturing and production,” says AITI director Professor John Spoehr.

“Data and artificial intelligence are re-inventing design and production chains and this requires a rethink about related competencies and jobs.

“The working group proposed clear objectives and a short-to-middle-term roadmap including joint projects and events, faculty and student exchanges, internships and PhD programs, start-up seeds and co-incubation to ensure we developing the necessary skills and applying them to best advantage,” Professor Spoehr says.

Professor John Spoehr, left, and Colin Thomas, the manager of the Tonsley Manufacturing Innovation Hub at Flinders University where Industry 4.0 modelling is helping companies to develop new systems. processes and products.

Marc Zolver, Vice-President for International Affairs at CentraleSupélec, says the workshop is the genesis of a research, industry and community ‘open innovation’ framework, where ideas and innovations will be exchanged in a swift and agile process benefiting for both big and small organisations.

“Discussions focused on research aspects of innovation in, and for, industry and the skills and competencies needed, taking into account Australian and French cultures,” says CentraleSupélec Professor of Design Engineering Bernard Yannou.

“Industry is experiencing a seismic transformation with more innovative and digital design and lean value-oriented processes.

“Our framework aims to create an added-value cooperation attracting more partners to exchange ideas and expertise and find solutions to tackle the challenges ahead,” Professor Yannou says.

The initiative was a successful in receiving funding from The Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation (AFRAN) and the French Embassy in Australia.

Flinders University leaders, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling, visited French defence companies earlier this year.


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