Firing up future industries with UCL partnership

University College London. INSIDE UNISA
The University College London in England.

UniSA and University College London (UCL) have signed a partnership agreement that will see the two institutions collaborating on a wide range of research and teaching designed to meet the needs of future industries.

Professor Tanya Monro and Professor Anthony Finkelstein at MOU event at UniSA.Professor Tanya Monro and Professor Anthony Finkelstein at MOU event at UniSA.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd travelled to London to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two universities and Dean of UCL’s Faculty of Engineering, Professor Anthony Finkelstein (pictured right), visited Adelaide to further talks around the partnership.

The MOU is the foundation for a program of collaboration between the new Future Industries Institute (FII), UniSA’s flagship engineering sciences research institute, and the UCL Faculty of Engineering.

The partnership opens opportunities for an industry-focused PhD program, joint curriculum development, especially in areas aligned to growth industries in the region, student and staff exchange programs, public engagement and joint academic appointments.

It also emphasises UCL’s ongoing commitment to sustaining its engagement with South Australia in a new format beyond 2017, when it will no longer have a stand-alone presence in SA.

Prof Lloyd says the partnership is exciting for South Australia and the region.

“UCL is one of the world’s most respected institutions, both for its research and its teaching,” Prof Lloyd says.

“I am especially pleased to be working with a university that is so highly regarded internationally at a time when UniSA is building knowledge and capacity in core future industries through the creation of its new FII.

“FII represents our largest single investment in research at UniSA and will be a flagship for industry-connected, interdisciplinary science and discovery.”

Under the partnership plans are being developed to create a number of five-year Foundation Research Fellows who will work on collaborative research projects based at UniSA’s FII. In addition, UniSA will be supporting a further 12 Foundation Fellows.

A number of the Foundation Fellowships will be directly targeted at supporting outstanding women researchers at early and mid-career levels encouraging more diversity in the science and engineering research community.

The new Director of the FII will also hold an honorary professorship at UCL and a senior UniSA researcher, Professor Magnus Nyden, will take on a seconded role as the Head of Department for UCL Australia.

Prof Finkelstein says the partnership confirms UCL’s commitment to South Australia and to the advancement of engineering excellence globally.

“This engineering partnership with UniSA signals a vibrant new approach to our work in South Australia, designed to deliver tangible outcomes for industry through innovation in science and engineering,” Prof Finkelstein says.

“In this context we are very pleased to welcome Professor Magnus Nyden, former Director of the Ian Wark Research Institute, to the role of Head of the Department of UCL Australia.”

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro says the new FII builds on UniSA’s considerable reputation and capacity in engineering and the physical sciences through the Ian Wark and Mawson Institutes to further grow research capacity and international reach.

“The creation of the FII builds on our strengths to allow us to invest in bringing together outstanding researchers to create the critical mass required to deliver meaningful, valuable research to industry and to align our endeavours to State and National priorities,” Prof Monro says.

“In the past that was all about mining and traditional manufacturing but the future holds new frontiers – more efficient and sophisticated minerals processing, developments in biomaterials and new sensing technologies, and exploring new approaches to support sustainable future energy production and the protection and care of the environment.

“Our new FII and this partnership with UCL offer a great opportunity for passionate and driven scientists to aspire to build their careers in science and build them here in South Australia.”