As South Australia gears up for unprecedented investment in the defence industry, the University of South Australia (UniSA) has created a flagship expert role to steer engagement between industry and research and education.
Matt Opie, a defence industry executive and former Army officer, has taken up the role of director, defence for the university.
Prior to the role, Opie was most recently head of industry engagemetn for Saab Australia and has experience within strategic management and business development.
Opie has also worked on projects within Australia, Asia-Pacific, the US and Europe.
UniSA deputy vice chancellor, research Professor Tanya Monro said Opie will bring high calibre skills to the new role and a powerful knowledge of what the defence industry needs from universities.
"Matt’s appointment signals the University’s strategic intention to provide the most effective and supportive collaboration to support defence industry development, growth and leadership in South Australia," Professor Monro said.
"The breadth of his experience in defence industry, coupled with an intimate knowledge of the Australian Defence Force gained from 15 years’ service in the Australian Army, will help to ensure UniSA brings the right elements to the table to work with the defence industry."
Opie's experience within project management was also touted as a key factor in his appointment.
"His long career working in project management and developing teams will be invaluable in ensuring the university strengthens its multidisciplinary, cross-institutional and industry-collaborative approach to research and engagement, underpinning defence industry growth in the state and the nation," Professor Monro said.
Opie will work across both research and education at the university to develop research and development alliances, defence industry partnerships and support the development of education projects that offer a graduate pipeline for the sector. Upon his appointment, Opie said UniSA is taking a strategic approach and showing real insight to create a role that will work closely with the defence industry and he is looking forward to taking on the challenge.
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"I’ll be dedicated to improving the way university research and industry collaboration can develop and deliver what the Australian Defence Force needs," he said.
"That involves a clear understanding what end-users need – from the kinds of graduates industry requires to complete and improve defence projects, to the types of research projects that will truly inform advancement in defence capability and deliver solutions."