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In brief

Cranfield deal a boon

UniSA has welcomed the State Government’s move to build on a collaboration with UK specialist postgraduate education provider, Cranfield University, Defence College of Management and Technology. The Premier Mike Rann, signed a Heads of Agreement with Cranfield at the end of May which will open the door to an even stronger research and education relationship with UniSA. UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor Denise Bradley said the agreement supported an 18 month collaboration and a memorandum of understanding between Cranfield and some of UniSA’s most advanced defence industry research and education nodes. "Specific strategic collaborations such as this one can only strengthen SA’s emergence as Australia’s premier defence industries specialist," she said. "We have a long history of successful research and education alliances with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and industry partners at Technology Park, across Australia and globally through UniSA’s Division of IT Engineering and the Environment (ITEE). The Premier’s move to consolidate our relationship with Cranfield builds on the State Government’s support for industry research collaborations such as the Centre of Excellence in Defence and Industry Systems Capability (CEDISC)."

Flagship institute for sustainability launched

Creating integrated eco-sensitive solutions for sustainable urban and rural environments is the focus of UniSA’s multi- million dollar flagship institute for sustainability research launched in May. The Institute for Sustainable Systems and Technologies (ISST) aims to become an internationally recognised research facility for developing technologies that optimise the use of natural resources, minimise waste, emissions and other environmental consequences, and reduce costs. ISST brings together four world-leading centres within UniSA researching agricultural machinery, industrial and applied mathematics, sustainable energy, and transport systems. "Through the creation of multi-disciplinary research programs, we aim to help South Australia become a national and international leader in sustainable development and stimulate the growth of industries that will export South Australian sustainability technologies, products and expertise," ISST Director, Professor Wasim Saman said. The ISST houses more than 100 UniSA staff and research students developing systems and technologies in energy, transport, water, environmental modelling and agriculture.

Life imitating nature

Janine Benyus, the world’s leading expert in Biomimicry – a new science that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates them to solve human problems – last month addressed a packed auditorium at UniSA’s City East campus. Biomimicry: seeking sustainable solutions by emulating Nature’s living examples looked at how "doing it nature’s way" has the potential to change the way we grow food, make materials, harness energy, heal ourselves, store information and conduct business. "Animals, plants, and microbes have been perfecting their wares for 3.8 billion years. After all this R&D, nature knows what works, what is appropriate, and what lasts," Benyus said. Bullet trains inspired by birds, self-cleaning paint modeled on the lotus flower and the ubiquitous Velcro™ are all examples of biomimicry at work. Elizabeth Ho, Director of the Hawke Centre, said Janine Benyus brings together work done by scientists, engineers and designers, seeking sustainable solutions to real world problems.