Saab Australia and the University of SA (UniSA) are partnering to establish the new Saab Australia-UniSA Institute for Defence Technologies.
Underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding signed today in the presence of the Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, the new Institute will provide a key education and research pipeline for highly skilled systems engineers, now very much in demand, as new defence industry projects come on-line.
The Institute will be located in a new purpose-built wing at Saab’s Mawson Lakes HQ, in close proximity to UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus, its Schools of Engineering, Information Technology and Mathematics and its Future Industries Institute.
It will provide a unique industry-based environment for students to experience real-life projects as an integral part of their studies, ensuring graduates are well-equipped to succeed in the defence sector.
Managing Director of Saab Australia, Dean Rosenfield said the significant defence industry projects planned for the next 20 to 30 years in Australia will require a new level of people with specialist skills in systems engineering.
“It is forecast that the need for additional personnel with the right education and training will be in excess of 5000 and about 20 per cent of those will need to be university qualified.
“This partnership ensures academia is in the heart of industry. Students will learn the technological skills, the industry demands and through the practical experience element, know how to deliver projects effectively.
“We have had a long and productive association with UniSA. This new partnership will give South Australia and Saab the edge in building defence industry capacity, delivering world-class solutions for future key projects.”
The Institute will have broad scope and will include engineering and IT, with a particular focus, according to Rosenfeld, on critical areas “at the heart of what Saab delivers – augmented reality, autonomous systems, cybersecurity and complex systems engineering”.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said the new Institute will address not only Saab skills and education needs, but also provide opportunities for smaller companies in the defence supply chain, giving them access to new generations of well-prepared graduates and the chance to upskill existing staff.
“Students studying engineering, IT and a variety of other STEM-based degree programs will have the opportunity to undertake real world projects at Saab or other companies in the supply chain and high performing students will be offered longer internships.
“We will be co-creating curriculum and teaching materials with Saab, ensuring they reflect current industry requirements and, at the postgraduate level, we will work with Saab to redevelop our Masters in Military Systems Integration to maintain the deep relevance of the program.
“In addition, the partnership will provide opportunities for joint research work, opening up new areas for PhD research, supporting additional innovation,” Prof. Lloyd said.