The recent three-day tour, co-hosted by QDSA and the ARM Hub (Advanced Robotics of Manufacturing), offered a unique opportunity to explore key research, industry, and Defence training grounds in Townsville.
During this recent tour, attendees had the privilege of immersing ourselves in the heart of the action, gaining firsthand experience of the dynamic environments where groundbreaking ideas take shape.
These site visits serve as a platform for research facilities to showcase their capabilities, enabling QDSA to facilitate connections and provide information about collaboration and funding opportunities.
Day 1 highlights
Day 1 of the QDSA Townsville Tour kicked off with a visit to James Cook University (JCU), where attendees were treated to a series of engaging presentations and networking opportunities.
The day began with insightful presentations from notable figures in the field, including:
- Prof. Marcus Lane – JCU Acting Vice Chancellor
- Prof. Ian Atkinson – JCU research and infrastructure capabilities
- Angela Reed – ARM Hub
- Stuart Blackwell – QDSA Director
- Paul Gaertner – DSTG AC2 STaR Shot Leader
- Kate Sullivan – ODIS
- Melissa Olsen – ReefWorks
The audience was captivated by presentations from the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITM), led by Prof. David Whitmore.
- Prof. Geoffrey Dobson shared novel approaches for immediate pre-hospital trauma care, focusing on uncontrolled haemorrhage and traumatic brain injury.
- Dr Paul Giacomin presented his groundbreaking research on the application of peptides derived from hookworm proteins, showcasing their inflammation reduction and wound healing properties, along with their potential for neutralising chemical and biological agents.
The excitement continued as guests were introduced to JCU’s sports and exercise science team and engineering and technology department.
- Associate Prof. Anthony Leicht discussed optimising concurrent cognitive and physical training in military personnel
- Associate Prof. Melissa Crowe shared her findings of exercise in hot and humid environments, as well as drugs and supplements in sport
- Prof. Nico Adams shed light on Industry 4.0, hydrogen energy innovation, and supply chain technology development.
- Prof. Mohan Jacobs presented his work on processing PPE waste materials using Microwave pyrolysis in collaboration. The system has been developed, and in partnership with Cubic Defence, they are developing a scaled up processing unit.
- Dr Elsa Antunes explained her research on 3D printed fuel grains for hybrid rockets.
Guests were then taken on a tour of Area 61 and the Cyclone Testing Centre, both housed within JCU.
Area 61 is an extremely exciting hub of innovation, nurturing a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate research projects are conceived and built, including the development of bespoke autonomous vehicles and advanced environmental monitoring systems.
The day concluded on a high note with networking drinks, providing an opportunity for further discussions and connections.
Day 2 highlights
On Day 2 at the Combat Training Centre (CTC), we were deep in the heart of the action, witnessing firsthand incredible demonstrations.
As we explored the facility, we had the unique opportunity to witness a live Army combat training simulation from the Exercise Control Centre. And it left us in awe. The extent to which various cutting-edge technologies were employed in the exercise simultaneously was fascinating to see first-hand.
From live virtual and constructive simulation, mounted and dismounted personnel monitoring systems and communication networks, the level of sophistication was truly impressive.
Over lunch, the Commander, COL Ben McLennan, discussed the scope of the CTC and the significance of the partnerships between the Australian Defence Force, Government, industry, and academia.
The collaboration between the Australian Defence Force and Cubic Defence was inspiring. Together they provide substantial support in system integration and operations at the CTC, setting an example of effective cooperation between sovereign industries and the ADF.
Day 3 highlights
To conclude our 3-day North Queensland tour attendees enjoyed a tour of Cubic Defence.
This was an opportunity to learn how Cubic supports our military personnel with highly realistic training and simulations (live, virtual and constructive) to defend our nation, including at the Combat Training Centre and other field locations.
Cubic’s delivery partnership approach means they operate, support, and maintain live instrumentation of simulation enabled training for the Army, Navy and Air Force – from the technical set up through to accommodation and catering logistics.
The morning’s agenda also included an update from Prof Mick Reilly about the North Queensland Simulation Park (NQ Spark) precinct which will be built alongside a new headquarters for Cubic in Townsville.
NQ SPARK is a unique collaboration that will bring together research (James Cook University), Health (Townsville University Hospital) and Defence (Lavarack Barracks). World class facilities and a focus on critical and emerging technologies will enable new test, evaluation, certification, and assurance systems to support the ADF. We can’t wait to share more about this precinct and organisation as it comes to life!
The 2023 Townsville Tour also enabled attendees to learn more about the AIMS ReefWorks facility and test range for marine technologies, uncrewed systems, and new sensors in a real-world environment. Perhaps most excitingly, it is the first and only inshore test range to be granted regulatory sandbox approval for uncrewed vessels from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Townsville Tour 2023: showcasing local innovation and fostering collaboration
The QDSA Townsville Tour 2023 was one for the books!
Filled with captivating presentations, immersive experiences, and invaluable networking opportunities, there is no shortage of exciting opportunities across industry, academia and Defence.
The highlights and discoveries from the tour will undoubtedly fuel future collaborations and foster new pathways for growth and development in the field. Together, we shape a brighter and more resilient future for our nation and beyond.
QDSA Upcoming Events and Opportunities
QDSA has many upcoming events and opportunities, with more being added each week. Want to find out what is on the horizon? Check out our News section on our website here or subscribe to our e-newsletter here.
The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led initiative to grow and connect an agile Defence innovation ecosystem, leveraging Queensland’s strengths, to deliver trusted solutions to meet Defence requirements.