The Flinders challenge was announced by Fincantieri and its research group CETENA at the Pacific 2017 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney.
The Fincantieri-Flinders-CETENA Maritime Innovation Challenge will see Fincantieri and its research subsidiary CETENA fund and support proposals submitted by Flinders University researchers in the area of maritime research.
This initiative is based on an innovation challenge funded by Fincantieri in Italy, the first example of its kind, where the company has long been promoting a series of activities in the field of Open Innovation, a model of collaboration between companies and research facilities, especially in areas with the highest rate of innovation such as ICT and Biotech, and in the most advanced countries in terms of technology.
The initiative will also see Flinders University researchers collaborate with their counterparts from the University of Genoa, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Flinders University earlier this year, with the aim of supporting and selecting innovative technology projects to be industrialised
The Maritime Innovation Challenge builds upon the relationship already established between Flinders University and Fincantieri, which has already seen Flinders University students undertake internships with Fincantieri in Italy earlier this year.
Fincantieri is one of three shipbuilders short-listed by the Australian Government to participate in the Competitive Evaluation Process for the Future Frigates – SEA 5000 program, which foresees the construction of nine frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.
Reflecting Fincantieri’s commitment to support and harness Australian sovereign capability, Fincantieri Australia Chairman Mr Dario Deste says the global shipbuilder is excited by the prospect of Flinders’ leading researchers applying their knowledge to research that addresses the needs of the maritime sector.
“The fast pace of technological and socio-economic change means we need to think cleverly about how we develop maritime capacity – addressing the challenges of the future requires focused research and hard evidence,” Mr Deste says.
“Fincantieri is committed to supporting Australian innovation, and our burgeoning relationship with Flinders and its exceptional researchers exemplifies that commitment,” he says.
Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says the initiative provides an opportunity for Flinders to showcase its leading defence research on the international stage.
“We’re delighted to be growing our relationship with Fincantieri in a meaningful way that will make a positive difference to an accelerating global industry. This initiative lays down the challenge to our researchers to think outside the box to find innovative solutions to real world maritime needs,” Professor Stirling says.
“An example of this thinking is Flinders research that harnessed fibre optics used in gastrointestinal medicine to address pressure and noise challenges in submarines. We thank Fincantieri and CETENA for their investment in innovative research, and the enormous potential it presents,” he says.
The Maritime Innovation Challenge will open for submissions this month, with project proposals to be reviewed by December 2017.
Headquartered in Trieste in Italy, Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups. It has built more than 7,000 vessels and currently employs almost 19,400 workers in 20 shipyards around the world.
CETENA S.p.A, a company within the Fincantieri Group, is dedicated to research and consultancy in the naval and maritime field.
Flinders University is at the frontline of defence-oriented teaching, research and development – delivering work-ready graduates and innovative R&D to the defence industry in the areas of maritime engineering, control and imaging, nanotechnology, energetics, robotics, systems engineering, cybersecurity and business management and leadership.