The creation of a new co-Chair Professorship, known as the Brittany Region/UniSA Professor of Industry of the Future, will be announced as part of the Premier of South Australia’s visit to France.
This is a joint academic appointment between the University of South Australia (UniSA) and French academic partners, funded by the University and the Brittany Region.
According to a recent report, the Professor of Industry of the Future position will be the focus of a range of research collaborations between the University and institutions in the Brittany Region.
This will include four new projects awarded funding under the State Government’s South Australia-Brittany Research Collaboration Grant.
Industry of the Future, or more commonly known as Industry 4.0 in Australia, has been dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This refers to the creation of ‘smart factories’ through the use of automation technologies such as cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT) 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.
The joint Professorship represents an opportunity to adapt European Industry 4.0 expertise to the Australian industrial landscape.
At the same time, this will strengthen the Brittany-Australia relations and will showcase the Brittany region’s education and research capabilities.
This initiative will be an important step in developing industry-focused research and educational cooperation between France and Australia.
It will be instrumental in putting Brittany and South Australia at the centre of Industry 4.0 knowledge creation.
This French-Australian collaboration will be significant to a broad range of industries, including maritime defence.
The other half of the year will be spent in Adelaide, thereby fostering staff and student exchange and driving innovation interchange between industry and academia in both countries.
The South Australia Premier will also announce the award of grants funded through the South Australia-Brittany Research Collaboration Grant, established by the South Australia State Government, including two for Industry 4.0 projects.
The first of these projects, the Roadmap for a Human Factor and Human-System Integration Consortium, seeks to create a collaborative approach to human factors research in the naval industry.
The project will be led by the University’s Associate Professor, who has fostered strong ties with Brittany over the past 18 months.
The consortium will take an existing project to the next stage, bringing together academics from the University, IMT Atlantique and the University of South Brittany with key figures from industry, including Naval Group.
In a second project, three University researchers will travel to Brittany to expand an existing suite of teaching and research activities with the Paris-based Superior National School of Advanced Techniques (ENSTA) and IMT Atlantique.
This project aims to improve education around key skills in engineering and other STEM disciplines central to Industry 4.0.
This will also seek to establish a PhD scholarship to support a student who will spend two years based at ENSTA and their middle year of study at the University.
Outside of these Industry 4.0 projects, the South Australia-Brittany Research Collaboration Grant also awarded funding to two other University initiatives that will expand existing relationships and establish new research opportunities.
With such clear benefits in both directions resulting from working together, many more joint ventures are expected between the University and the Brittany region over the coming years.