SA innovators secure scholarships under space initiative

Five South Australians space innovators have been awarded $20,000 each in scholarships that will see them travel overseas for further study as part of a new SA government initiative.

The scholarship program is part of the $4 million Space Innovation Fund, aimed at growing jobs and building the state’s space ecosystem.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said the five successful applicants each demonstrated an interest in improving their knowledge and skills as potential founders of new SA-based space-related enterprises.

"Growing the space economy is a key priority for the state government and we are committed to ensuring that this state will be a key and increasingly prominent player in the space industry nationally and internationally," Premier Marshall said.

"South Australia has a proud history in space-related work with a strong advanced manufacturing and technology skills base, making us ideally placed to play a lead role in this important industry as it grows worldwide.

"In South Australia, we understand the importance of space as a source of inspiration and wonder for our future generations, as well as realising that space is an enabler of economic growth for our current generation."

Up to five scholarships for a total of $100,000 per year over the next four years will be awarded to applicants with relevant tertiary qualifications under the program.

The successful applicants this year are:

• Robin Georg – will travel to Germany to attend the Stuttgart University, with a key component to collaborate with his German-based supervisor on the research topic ‘Augmentation of a Thermal Inductive Hybrid Engine for Space Propulsion’;

• Jack Hooper – will travel to Sweden at Lulea University of Technology to complete the master's in space science and technology;

• Hamish McPhee – will travel to France to undertake a master's of science in aerospace engineering at ISAE-SUPAERO Toulouse;

• Nicholas Moretti – will travel to the US to attend Stanford University’s Graduate Business School’s customer-focused innovation course; and

• David Vincekovic – will travel to France to undertake a master's of science in aerospace engineering at ISAE-SUPAERO Toulouse.

Scholarship recipient Nicholas Moretti, who currently works as a space technologies program lead at South Australian start-up Inovor Technologies, will undertake a course at Stanford University’s Graduate Business School to learn how to understand customer needs, while developing strategies and a culture that promotes innovation.

"The skills learnt in this course, combined with my engineering background, will allow me to effectively lead a team to design, build and deliver state-of-the-art products to customers," he said.

"The ability for South Australia to innovate in an agile manner based on customer needs will result in local companies offering more attractive solutions to domestic and international business opportunities.

"This will lead to South Australian companies having a better opportunity at success and the South Australian space industry building an international reputation for developing cutting-edge technologies and products."

South Australia is one of the states lobbying the federal government for a key stake in the Australian National Space Agency.

While giving the opening speech at the Fifth South Australian Space Forum, hosted by the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC), Premier Marshall announced his plans to put forward the southern state's skills gained from the defence and advanced manufacturing industries while lobbying Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to have SA take the lead in developing a national space agency.

"I'm meeting with the PM ... and one of my highest priority issues will be to raise the report, which I think Michaelia Cash now has on her desk, regarding the Australian space agency and lobbying as hard as I can for South Australia to play a lead role in that development," the Premier said.

Premier Marshall said leveraging South Australia's long history in space, which dates back decades when Australia launched its first satellite from SA in 1967, combined with the state's skills in defence and advanced manufacturing, will be critical as the industry grows nationally and internationally.

"Growing a space industry and capturing the opportunities in space is a priority for the government," the Premier said.

"South Australians have a proud history in space related work in a strong advanced manufacturing and technology skills base, making us ideally placed to play a lead role in this important industry as it grows worldwide."

SA innovators secure scholarships under space initiative
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