Flinders recognised in national defence awards

Flinders University has been shortlisted as a finalist in several categories of the 2021 Australian Defence Industry Awards hosted by Defence Connect.

After a successful year delivering a range of defence-related research and education programs, the University has been nominated in three categories, including Academic Institution of the Year and in the Veteran Support Program of The Year category, through the Military Pathways Program.

Professor in Innovation, Giselle Rampersad, has also been recognised as a finalist for Academic of The Year after successfully delivering and expanding the Diploma of Digital Technologies at Tonsley.

The Australian Defence Industry Awards recognise excellence from defence professionals, organisations and businesses across Australia, and the winners will be announced on December 7, 2021.

Flinders University’s Defence Partnerships Director, Tony Kyriacou, says the three nominations reflect Flinders University’s broad-scale collaboration with the defence industry, with all six Colleges currently involved in defence-related research projects across the country.

“Flinders University continues to work closely with the defence industry to develop and introduce a range of new courses in response to future industry requirements, including the Diploma of Digital Technologies and the $5 million National research and education initiative in Electronic Warfare which led to two new EW degrees in collaboration with Defence,” says Mr Kyriacou.

“The quality of our programs is highlighted by the ongoing success of our students in securing internships, scholarships and employment in the defence industry. This has been supported due to the growing national and international reputation of Flinders University researchers who are working on ground-breaking research projects.”

Mr Kyriacou says ongoing industry engagement through 2021 has seen the university become a partner of choice for BAE Systems Australia in support of the Hunter Class Frigate Program, while also making major advancements in establishing the Line Zero Factory of the Future initiative.

“The collaboration between Flinders and BAE Systems Australia has grown from a joint laboratory to a $10 million co-investment with the South Australian Government on a permanent Factory of the Future at Tonsley,” says Mr Kyriacou.

“The partnership has also seen a growing number of our students securing placements and employment with either BAE or as part of the Flinders team working on related projects. The co-location with BAE Systems has seen an increasing number of companies who are part of BAE’s supply chain seeking Flinders interns and graduates across Australia, which is excellent.”


Flinders has also been recognised for the four-week intensive Military Academic Pathway Program (MAPP) which seeks to develop both the confidence and academic competence of military veterans to undertake an undergraduate degree.

“38 veterans who have completed the program started university studies or have indicated that they will commence once discharged. This is across a broad range of degree programs including psychology, nursing, international relations, information technology and science,” says Associate Director of Student Learning Support Service, Associate Professor Pablo Munguia.

Professor Giselle Rampersad is a finalist in the Academic of the year category.

Professor Giselle Rampersad says she is honoured to be named a finalist in Academic of the Year for 2021 and cites research and training collaborations as the cornerstone of success for the Diploma of Digital Technologies over the past year.

“Industry collaboration is at the heart of what we do at Flinders,” she says.

Through the program, students develop future-focused skills in innovation and industry 4.0, cybersecurity, digital design, design for manufacture, cyber-physical systems, robotics, and automation.

“The Diploma of Digital Technologies has gone from strength to strength – initially up-skilling 51 shipbuilders from BAE Systems Maritime Australia and retaining critical naval shipbuilding capability,” says Professor Rampersad.

“It has expanded this year, with approximately 100 participants, comprising not only employees from BAE Systems but including participants from small and medium-sized enterprises with key roles in the defence supply chain, and STEM school teachers wanting to inspire the next generation of students to meet the needs of industry into the future.

“We’ve reached 50% female participation this year, which is important in building gender diversity in Defence and STEM.

“The program has also started expanding nationally and now includes 11 BAE Systems staff from VIC, WA, NSW and the ACT. We look forward to scaling nationally, to build industry capability given the program’s national significance and benefits.

“We are also working on some very exciting research projects with Naval Group Pacific on exoskeletons and machining robots, and also with DSTG and Supashock on Digital Twins.”

This month the Diploma of Digital Technologies, a collaboration between Flinders University, BAE Systems Australia and TAFE SA, won the Industry Collaboration award in the 2021 South Australian Training Awards

Pleasingly, Flinders University Digital Diploma graduate Brett Smith has been recognised as a Graduate of the Year finalist.

Upon completing the Diploma he secured a role as a Detailed Designer at BAE Systems Maritime Australia, where he is working on the Hunter Class Frigate build.

Brett is pictured here with Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling at the graduation ceremony.

The Digital Diploma was celebrated at the 2020 Australian Defence Industry Awards, winning Training and Mentorship Program of the Year.


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