USyd enters R&D partnerships with Thales, MS

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 31 July, 2017


The University of Sydney has entered a five-year collaboration with technology company Thales Australia to develop new technologies and capabilities for the aerospace, defence, security and transportation fields.

Under the agreement, the university’s researchers will be offered opportunities to collaborate on major industry project incorporating digital technologies.

The partners will initially work on research activities within the Faculty of Engineering and IT, in the areas of autonomous systems, AI, data analytics, advanced sensors, and processing and materials science.

Thales and the facility have a long-term existing relationship, having previously collaborated on projects including an ARC Linkage project, involving researchers from the university’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics, which was focused on improving the effectiveness of underwater survey operations.

Under this collaboration, the partners developed breakthrough technology in underwater sensors and improved Thales’s capability in fibre laser sensors, according to Thales Australia’s country director and CEO, Chris Jenkins.

“Recognising the pace of innovation, especially in digital technologies like big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, it is critical for Thales to partner with leading universities,” he said.

“The future applications of these technologies will require a holistic and integrated response, moving beyond individual disciplines and creating the next generation of careers and technological and industrial capabilities.”

Last week the University of Sydney also entered a multiyear partnership with Microsoft focused on furthering quantum computing research. Microsoft is investing in the establishment of Station Q Sydney, one of only four of its labs focused on quantum research worldwide.

Station Q Sydney’s scientific director, Professor David Reilly, said Microsoft’s investment will provide the university with state-of-the-art equipment, allow it to recruit new staff and improve the nation’s scientific and engineering talent.

“The deep partnership between Microsoft and the University of Sydney will allow us to help build a rich and robust local quantum economy by attracting more skilled people, investing in new equipment and research, and accelerate progress in quantum computing — a technology that we believe will disrupt the way we live, reshaping national and global security and revolutionising medicine, communications and transport,” he said.

Station Q Sydney will be focused on bringing quantum computing out of the laboratory and into the real world where it can have genuine impact, Professor Reilly said.

“We’ve reached a point where we can move from mathematical modelling and theory to applied engineering for significant scale-up.”

Image caption: University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence signs the MoU alongside Thales Australia Country Director and CEO Chris Jenkins. Image courtesy University of Sydney.

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