New collaborations tackle biofouling

Collaborators from industry and academia visited Flinders University last week to celebrate the establishment of the University’s first ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre.

The ‘soft launch’ of the new ARC Training Centre for Biofilm Research and Innovation at Alere opened with a warm welcome by the Vice President and Executive Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, Professor Alistair Rendell, then the Training Centre Director Associate Professor Sophie Leterme introduced the shared vision.

Working across the disciplines of biology, microbiology, nanotechnology, chemistry, functional materials, engineering and robotics, the Centre will tackle some of the biggest issues facing the water and defence industries – biofilm and biofouling management.

Biofilms and biofouling can pose threats to our environment and to human health and can be expensive and difficult to eradicate.

Announced in July, the five year, $5 million Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Industrial Transformation Training Centre is supported by a further $7.65 million (cash and in-kind) from participating organisations, including ASC Pty Ltd, BAE Systems, DSTG, Osmoflo, Enware Australia, Sparc Technologies, SA Water, Franmarine Underwater Services, DMTC Molino-Zhang and Associates, the Environment Protection Authority, University of Toulon, Ohio State University, and the three collaborating Australian universities – Flinders , Swinburne and the University of Tasmania.

The Centre will offer training and research opportunities for PhD students and early career researchers to work on innovative solutions to improve efficiency in the maritime and defence industries and to support other sectors – including the development of solutions to water quality, and other health and safety issues related to biofilms.

This collaborative industrial research will train the next generation of scientists and research students to strengthen the capabilities of these industries.

Associate Professor Leterme says that recruitment is now open for students, researchers and trainees alike, from across the defence, water services and health industries.

“We are excited that our students and staff will have access to world-class research and industrial training through the Centre’s unique training program, and will be highly sought after employees for our industry partners in the future,” says Associate Professor Leterme.

Further information about available PhD and postdoctoral opportunities can be found on the ARC Training Centre for Biofilm Research website.

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College of Science and Engineering