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Second Italian deal boosts Flinders ship building ambitions

Second Italian deal boosts Flinders ship building ambitions

Building on its partnership with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri announced earlier this month, South Australia’s Flinders University has signed a supporting agreement with The University of Genoa to cooperate in research and development and training with focus on maritime, naval architecture and shipbuilding.

The agreement not only strengthens Flinders’ connection with Fincantieri – one of the shortlisted companies bidding to build Australia’s Future Frigates – but also opens the door for participation with The University of Genoa in a range of maritime and naval architecture related projects.

Flinders’ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Robert Saint, and The University of Genoa Vice Rector for International Relations Professor Andrea Trucco signed the Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony in Genoa witnessed by the Australian Ambassador to Italy Dr Greg French, delegates from Austrade’s Milan offices, and representatives from Fincantieri. The shipbuilder is currently hosting two Flinders Business School students on internships as part of its own MoU.

Professor Saint says the University of Genoa MoU includes opportunities for staff and student exchanges, research collaboration and the sharing of experience in using hi-tech equipment. “It is a commitment to reciprocal cooperation that will be of significant benefit to both partners,” he says.

“This agreement with The University of Genoa, just weeks after our MoU with one of the world’s biggest ship builders, Fincantieri, shows Flinders University’s ability to play a major role in Australia’s Future Frigate Program is internationally recognised.

“Flinders’ vision is for our world class researchers to be at the heart of Australia’s biggest defence projects, at the heart of Australia’s economic transformation.

“This signing today in Genoa is yet another exciting milestone on our journey towards that goal.

“Moreover, as Ambassador French said earlier, this kind of targeted arrangement between two leading universities helps to strengthen the academic and economic ties between Australia and Italy,” Professor Saint says.

University of Genoa Vice Rector Professor Trucco says it further strengthens the multiple research relationships between UNIGE, Flinders and Fincantieri.

“Our University has a proud history of productively working with Fincantieri and with all the Italian shipbuilding and maritime industry since decades.

“The establishment of this agreement with Flinders University will foster an exchange of knowledge between Australia and Italy in relation to ongoing and future projects in the maritime and shipbuilding field, and harness some of the world’s best research minds in the quest for technological innovation in the vital defence sector.

“We look forward to hosting our Australian colleagues and students here in Italy, as well as having our researchers visit them in Adelaide and to discuss the implementation of research cooperation projects,” Professor Trucco says.

The MoU provides a five-year research arrangement between the two universities, but all parties agree benefits will be yielded for many years more.