Four of Western Australia’s leading universities have come together with Defence West to enhance the state’s research capabilities and contribution to the defence industry sector.
Defence Connect caught up with Defence West's inaugural defence advocate Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Raydon Gates AO, CSM, who hosted representatives from Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia on Wednesday at Defence West's office.
The former Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive said Wednesday's event was a strong example of not only the state's capabilities and commitment to research and development, but a stellar example of the collaborative nature within the defence industry space.
"I was fortunate to meet, all together, which was a very powerful demonstration of teamwork," explained Gates.
"I met with Edith Cowan, of course, the recognised world leader in cyber; I met with the University of West Australia, and they’re leading in autonomous vehicles, at the moment, there's some incredible research; I met with Curtin University, they're probably, here in West Australia, recognised as one of the big leaders in big data and human performance, which is a critical field when you think of it, so there's the logical side of things; and Murdoch is into engineering, also some enabling features that we also have to consider, for example law, and Murdoch is into that side."
Despite the competitive nature among the business that is universities, Gates praised the institutions' ability to form strong partnerships for the benefit of all partners.
"So, we sat around the table together, and they talked about what they were doing in these such areas and what they're trying to do, as the 'University Team West Australia' if you like, they recognised, of course, just like my experience industry, that term ‘Competimates’," Gates said.
"Sometimes they are competitors and other times they try to work together in rich partnerships, formal partnerships, whatever comes along.
"But what pleased me was that their search is collaborative and extremely customer focused when it comes to a defence focus. So extremely customer focused. And linked. So you start to think of things just like autonomous vehicles, and then control autonomous vehicles, of course then, things like cyber come into play.
"So you've got two universities in Western Australia covering both of those areas. So I'm very excited about what they're doing together."
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And with WA's rich history in defence, Gates said it is no surprise that the unviersities have seized the opportunities within the defence industry research space.
"From a defence perspective, I mean, Western Australia is pretty special, and one of good reason would appreciate that when you have the submarine fleet here, there's a lot of activity and research work in that sort of space, that co-ordinate in some of those areas," he said.