Swinburne University of Technology has received a grant of more than $990,000 to deliver nine research projects focused on boosting innovation, skills and employment in Australia’s automotive industry.
The funding is part of the Federal Government’s Automotive Engineering Graduate Programme, designed to help Australian automotive businesses grow, improve productivity and increase the pipeline of high-quality graduate engineers into the sector. Swinburne received the highest grant of the seven universities awarded funding in this round.
Swinburne’s winning application integrates a range of industry-engaged research and development projects on the safety, lightweighting, durability, reliability and recycling of vehicle components of tomorrow.
Swinburne will engage with industry partners including Henkel Australia, Kwik-Coat Australia, Envirostream and AN Cooke Manufacturing, and the projects will take place at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus or onsite with industry.
The projects address the capabilities needed to meet future challenges for safe, sustainable and affordable zero-emission mobility, as the global race for electric vehicles, digitalisation, autonomous driving and connected vehicles intensifies.
One of the requirements for receiving funding is to nurture high-quality graduate engineers for the future automotive industry. Postgraduate students will undertake the design, simulation, prototyping, testing and model correlation work required for each of Swinburne’s projects, together with industry partners and academic supervisors in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Product Design Engineering.
Project lead and department Chair Professor Guoxing Lu says students will have the opportunity to work closely with the automotive industry and gain valuable experience.
“Through this research the students will help transform the industry for new generations of products,” he says. “It’s important we have quality graduate engineers who are experienced to meet the challenges that are ahead for the automotive industry.
“Our team is excited and encouraged with the success of this grant and greatly value this opportunity to make an impact on future automotive technologies.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic says the grant will allow Swinburne’s research teams to propel research-led innovation with industry.
“It will establish a global hub for engineering, design and development of future vehicle technologies,” he says. “We aim to create new knowledge and skills locally to help companies access global automotive value chains leading to new jobs in Australia.”
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews says the grants will help more than 107 post-graduate engineers work on industry-based automotive projects around Australia.
“It will develop engineers with the skills and experience our automotive industry needs and will support projects which will grow our economy and create Australian jobs,” she says.