Aerospace hub takes off at Williamtown

2 November 2017

UoN VC Prof Caroline McMillen and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC cutting the ribbon at DAS18 Hub

A new facility to unite the research and innovation capabilities of the University of Newcastle and the Defence industry has been launched at Williamtown near Newcastle with the support of the NSW Government.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC helped launch the new defence, security, and aerospace hub which has been developed by the University with support of the NSW Government's Boosting Business Innovation Program.

“The Boost program is providing $18 million to the state’s universities – including $1.5 million to the University of Newcastle – to work with businesses to drive innovation,” Mr MacDonald said.

"The hub, named ‘DSA-18’, will support research and development of new innovative technologies to bolster the region’s industries.

“The Hunter is already a NSW stronghold for defence but today’s launch of this impressive new facility will see that take off even further.

“The University of Newcastle is conducting exciting research in a range of areas relevant to the defence, security, and aerospace sectors and the DSA-18 Hub with its 18 seats will allow academics to work directly with business and industry."

The Hub’s strategic location at Williamtown Aerospace Centre will allow it to work alongside leading industry names like Raytheon Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, and Boeing as well as cutting-edge smaller businesses and start-ups.

The Hunter region’s defence sector employs more than 4,600 people and contributes $1.3 billion to the region’s economy but the DSA-18 hub will provide new impetus for innovation-led growth.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, said the DSA-18 Hub would provide an important platform to build on UON’s strong research performance and global reputation in defence, security and aerospace.

"Around the world we have seen that the best innovation ecosystems are those where new industries, jobs and opportunities are created when research, business, government and community forge strong alliances,” Professor McMillen said.

“With UON’s expertise in interdisciplinary fields such as visual simulation, robotics, biometrics, cognition modelling, frontier energy technologies, navigation systems, disaster preparedness and recovery, cybersecurity and advanced sensor platforms, the DSA-18 Hub will provide a capability boost to the growing cluster of businesses and defence-related activities at Williamtown.”

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall said: "We aim to create an environment where new opportunities for innovative solutions and research breakthroughs can be generated to help solve the complex, high-risk problems of the Australian Defence Force.”

“With UON officially joining the cluster of defense related businesses and activity at Williamtown we hope to contribute to the Hunter being ideally positioned to leverage this expertise and capacity to generate a local Defence industry of global scale.”

The DSA-18 Hub is one of four innovation hubs in the Hunter, which together comprise the Integrated Innovation Network (I2N) - a University of Newcastle initiative established in 2016 and partially funded with the support of the $1.5 million NSW Government Boosting Business Innovation Program grant.

Building on the suite of existing I2N activities and capability-building programs, the DSA-18 Hub will host workshops and events designed to promote engagement between researchers, students, SMEs, prime industries, and the Australian Defence Force.

More information

For further information visit Boosting Business Innovation Program.