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Giant Leap for space industry R&D in NSW

5 July 2022
Funding to enable collaborative space research
The NSW Space Research Network (SRN), which is co-led by the University of Sydney, will fund seven projects through its first Research Pilot Program.

Technologies that aim to enhance our space-based defence surveillance capabilities, improve the performance of computers in space and deliver sovereign production of communication systems are among projects funded under a landmark new program.

The NSW Space Research Network (SRN) will fund seven projects through its first Research Pilot Program, with two additional projects receiving seed funding. The SRN is a university-led initiative, funded by the NSW Government, designed to enhance the local space industry through collaboration with government and academic research institutions.

SRN co-directors Professor Stefan Williams from the University of Sydney and Professor Robert Fitch from UTS said the Network will develop and support a comprehensive strategy to grow space research and industry capacity within NSW.

“This will be achieved through a focus on supporting collaborative projects, knowledge exchange, educational opportunities and community outreach,” said Professor Williams.

University of Sydney Board representative, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research - Enterprise and Engagement) Professor Julie Cairney said that the University’s leading space R&D capability, provides an excellent basis for co-leading the SRN.

“The University of Sydney’s space capabilities have soared. Not only are we home to world-leading aerospace and robotics experts, but our people are at the heart of programs like the SmartSat CRC, the ARC Training Centre for Cubesats, UAVs and their applications and NASA's Moon to Mars initiative,” said Professor Cairney.

"This is having positive impacts across industry, research, and even education, demonstrated again last week by our multi-award-winning undergraduate student rocketry team.”

Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said NSW already has an incredible depth of talent in the space industry and this investment will accelerate local R&D opportunities.

“With many industries looking to increase their output and improve efficiency through space-enabled technologies, the value of the global space sector is forecast to reach more than US$1 trillion by 2040,” Mr Henskens said.

“Collaboration between government, industry and our universities is essential to successful commercialisation of our world leading research. This investment is another example of our commitment to turbocharging local R&D opportunities so that our state remains at the forefront of this innovative and rapidly growing industry.”

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said the SRN was at the forefront of NSW’s push to play a significant role in the global space industry.

“NSW boasts world-leading space R&D, and is home to the largest concentration of space-related activity in Australia, with more than 40 percent of the country’s space businesses and more than a third of its space startups,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.

Luisa Low

Media and PR Adviser (Engineering & IT)

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