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First Australia-France joint international research lab to be based in Adelaide

An International Research Laboratory is slated to be established in Adelaide, South Australia.

According to a recent press release, the laboratory aims to turbocharge scientific collaboration among South Australian universities and the key French Government national science research organisation, CNRS, and a French maritime technology, shipbuilding and energy company.

Who are involved?

Both the French research organisation and the shipbuilding company signed a Letter of Intent with the three South Australian universities: Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia.

This was done to develop a proposal to base in Adelaide what would be one of only five industry-linked CNRS International joint laboratories in the world.

The undertaking is one of a number of significant defence-associated education and research commitments being sealed in Canberra during the visit of France’s Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Mme Frédérique Vidal.

The initiative builds on successful collaborations between the three South Australian universities and CNRS research laboratories, such as Lab-STICC in Brittany.

The South Australian Universities and their contributions

The Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University said that the combined strength of three world-class universities located in South Australia, which is the defence state, makes Adelaide an ideal location for the laboratory.

This is yet more evidence of South Australia being an unbeatable place to do business.

It draws on the specific research fortes of each university, which collectively provides an unrivalled capacity in advanced research.

The University will be contributing in the autonomous systems as they are leading in the research with their unmanned vehicles that can undertake often hazardous tasks independently of human control.

They will also actively contribute to research involving psychology and innovation.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Australia said that the decision to create the Joint Laboratory is a visionary and a very welcome initiative by the French organisations.

This is a landmark opportunity to boost both Australian-French scientific cooperation and Australian sovereign technical capability in a range of key areas.

This includes those that connect human factors with the physical aspects of maritime vehicles in novel ways.

The University, meanwhile, will contribute its unique world-leading expertise in an interdisciplinary combination of research relating to Human Solutions for Complex Environments.

It will include psychophysiology and behaviour, metrics-based ergonomic design, and virtual reality and augmented reality.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide said he welcomes further international collaboration with CNRS, the shipbuilding company, and the industry.

The University, on its part, will contribute in the pure and applied research in the disciplines of human factors, AI and systems autonomy.

The intersection of autonomous systems, AI and human factors is one of the key frontiers of research today, which they are pursuing with vigour.

What will the collaboration bring?

The Vice-President of the French shipbuilding company welcomes the collaboration and said that they are committed in cultivating an innovation environment in Australia, around the scientific, educational and industrial community.

The establishment of the laboratory, according to him, is one of the key pillars of this commitment and will provide opportunities to collaborate with their Australian university and R&D partners in the areas of autonomous systems, human factors and artificial intelligence.

Alongside academics from within the three South Australian universities, the joint laboratory will be able to draw on relevant expertise across the 33,000 CNRS researchers as well as the company’s experts.

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