Saab partners with UniSA to give SA a defence edge

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UniSA has partnered with leading defence systems company, Saab Australia, to establish a new institute, which will provide a key education and research pipeline for highly skilled systems engineers.

The new Saab Australia-UniSA Defence Technologies Institute will be located in a purpose-built wing at Saab’s Mawson Lakes headquarters, close to UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus at which the Schools of Engineering, Information Technology and Mathematics and the Future Industries Institute are located.

A Memorandum of Understanding to advance the institute was signed earlier this month in the presence of Defence Industry Minister, Christopher Pyne.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the new institute will address not only Saab’s 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.

“This initiative is a fine example of how universities and industry can work together to deliver future growth for South Australia,” Prof Lloyd says.

“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.

Sub-heading: Joint creation of teaching materials to reflect industry requirements

“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.”

Managing Director of Saab Australia, Dean Rosenfield says the new Institute will have broad scope, including engineering and IT, with a particular focus on critical areas at the heart of what Saab delivers – augmented reality, autonomous systems, cybersecurity and complex systems engineering.

“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,” Rosenfield says.

“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.

“This new partnership will give South Australia and Saab the edge in building defence industry capacity, delivering world-class solutions for future key projects.”

Defence Industry Minister Pyne says the defence institute will become a sustainable source of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) graduates by immersing them in real world situations.

“Significant defence projects, such as the replacements for the Collins Class Submarines that will be delivered in the coming years, necessitate an increase in skilled people, especially in STEM subjects,” Mr Pyne says. “This will also build on our indigenous defence capability and provide a developing workforce for future export contracts.”