The University of South Australia (UniSA) has secured funding from the Brittany region of France (Région Bretagne) to establish a new co-chair professorship known as the Brittany Region/UniSA Professor of Industry of the Future, a joint academic appointment between UniSA and French academic partners.
The joint academic appointment will be hosted both by UniSA and by IMT Atlantique with the University of Southern Brittany.
The agreement is the first joint Australia-France Professorship of this kind.
The Professor of Industry of the Future position will be the focus of a range of research collaborations between UniSA and institutions in Région Bretagne, particularly on topics relevant to Defence industry and naval shipbuilding.
Industry of the Future (or Industry 4.0) has been dubbed the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’; the creation of ‘smart factories’ through the use of automation technologies such as cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and cognitive computing.
“Industry 4.0 is a concept of critical importance to Australia but there is a need to develop far greater educational and research expertise in the field than currently exists in this country,” UniSA Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd said.
“I am certain this initiative will be an important step in developing industry-focused research and educational cooperation between France and Australia.”
Région Bretagne is significant to French naval power, with nuclear submarines based in Brest alongside clearance divers and towed sonar vessels. Major shipyards are located in both Brest and Lorient.
The new Professor of Future Industry will spend half their year at IMT Atlantique and the University of Southern Brittany and half in Adelaide, fostering staff and student exchange and driving innovation interchange between industry and academia in both countries.
The partnership builds on the back of efforts to expand bilateral cooperation announced during President Macron’s visit in May, which included the founding of the annual Australia-France Defence Industry Symposium.
More information on Australian-French industry connections is available in the November edition of ADM.