Flinders ready to support continuous naval shipbuilding

Flinders University has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to continuous naval shipbuilding in Australia, with South Australia set to continue its key role in achieving Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding objectives.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said the commitment provides certainty for the defence industry sector and for Flinders University to continue growing its support for naval shipbuilding.

“Flinders University is deeply engaged with government, industry and academic partners in support of major naval shipbuilding,” Professor Stirling said.

“We have a proud history of working in partnership to support workforce development, and the critical research skills needed to help deliver a fleet that is fit for the future.

“Continuous shipbuilding is the cornerstone of workforce stability, ensuring that there is a steady demand for skilled workers. This in turn provides confidence for the higher education and vocation education and training sectors to invest in innovative teaching.

“This confidence extends to medium-and-long term planning and investment in advanced manufacturing, emerging technologies, research and development, and infrastructure.

“Recognising the enormous potential presented by continuous shipbuilding, Flinders has invested in readiness for the uplift in skills and research required. The Commonwealth’s reaffirmation means this investment can now be realised, with Flinders ready to accelerate its programs in the knowledge that there will be significant demand for these rewarding and reliable career pathways.

“From our nation-leading Diploma of Digital Technologies which is upskilling workers with the digital skills required for modern shipbuilding, to pioneering the nation’s only undergraduate nuclear engineering major, Flinders is already helping to secure the future workforce pipeline,” Professor Stirling said.

“At the same time, we’re collaborating with industry to provide access to critical research and development capacity. Our expertise in materials engineering, nanotechnology, cybersecurity, and electronic warfare provides crucial support for defence primes and SMEs to tackle key challenges and successfully participate in naval builds.

“This is exemplified by the Flinders University Factory of the Future, which is critical in the application of cutting-edge technologies and the seamless transfer of knowledge and expertise. A world-class, advanced manufacturing test bed, it brings together industry, education and research to develop vital sovereign capabilities in key sectors including defence and advanced manufacturing in partnership with BAE Systems Maritime Australia and its supply chain.

“The first of its kind in Australia, the Factory of the Future is co-locating with the state government’s Tonsley Technical College, placing South Australia at the global forefront of developing vibrant industry linked research, education and training facilities.

“Continuous programs allow for greater flexibility in adapting to changes in technology, regulations, and geopolitical factors without facing the challenges of restarting or ramping up, allowing universities to respond more rapidly to changes in learning requirements.

Flinders University Vice Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling and The University of Manchester Interim Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute Professor Clint Shard sign the partnership agreement witnessed by South Australia’s Premier Peter Malinauskas

“An excellent example is our ‘University AUKUS’ agreement with The University of Manchester and The University of Rhode Island. It enables Flinders to deliver a comprehensive suite of world’s best nuclear education in South Australia to develop the skilled workforce vital for constructing and maintaining the AUKUS fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.”

Since forging these strategic alliances with the key US and UK universities last year, Flinders University has been granted additional Australian Government funding for 330 Commonwealth Supported Places for students to join the jobs-of-the-future skills training and research pipeline at Flinders.

“Another significant benefit of continuous programs is amplifying Australia’s competitiveness in the global market. Demonstrating a consistent track record in shipbuilding projects enhances our industry reputation, attracting greater research interest and partners,” Professor Stirling said.

Deputy Premier Susan Close, Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling and Premier Peter Malinauskas announcing the CRADA.

“One such example is Flinders’ historic Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with NUWC Division Newport – the US Navy’s full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation, engineering, and fleet support centre for submarine warfare systems and other systems associated with the undersea battlespace – which will boost South Australia’s defence research capability.”

Professor Stirling said the federal government’s confirmation of its commitment to continuous shipbuilding will be a catalyst for a new era of advanced manufacturing jobs, and Flinders University stands ready to intensify its efforts in supporting of growing Australia’s sovereign capabilities in the naval shipbuilding sector.

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