Partnership between France and Australia strengthens engineering capabilities

France and Australia’s brightest students will have the opportunity to be immersed in the latest engineering technologies in both countries under a new Memorandum of Understanding between Flinders University, the French Embassy and technology firm Thales.

The MoU launches a reciprocal program for French students to be based at Flinders University for periods of up to six months as part of research internships that will be the shared responsibility of Flinders and Thales, and supported by the French Embassy.

This new program reciprocates an existing arrangement through which Flinders University students are undertaking placements in France.

The agreement has been signed by Ambassador Christophe Penot, Thales chief technical officer Dr John Best, and Flinders University’s vice-chancellor Colin Stirling, at an official reception at the French Embassy.

Further deepening the existing relationship between Thales and Flinders University, the arrangement will see high performing students selected for internships supported by Thales and delivered at Flinders University, a leading university in Adelaide, South Australia.

South Australia is a focal point for $90b worth of defence manufacturing in Australia including the future submarine and future frigate projects.

Penot said the agreement reflects burgeoning French-Australian relations.

“We are witnessing a flourishing relationship between France and Australia, with initiatives in the defence space a catalyst for educational and social exchanges that are strengthening the bonds that unite us – this MoU is borne of that growing spirit of collaboration,” said Penot.

Best said the exchange of research knowledge is central to advancing the defence sector.

“This is all about attracting and nurturing the best and brightest in both Australia and France, opening up fantastic opportunities for closer collaboration with Thales on a global scale.

“To ensure these students have hands-on, practical experience in the research, design and development of world-class high technology solutions, we’re designing activities that will allow them to engage with Thales before, during and after the internship, including company briefings and site visits that will inform their research projects,” said Best.

Stirling said Flinders’ internationally noted expertise in autonomous systems will be an asset to the student interns.

“Partnerships which embed students at each other’s premier institutions and exposes them to our most experienced researchers ensure that we’re passing on leading edge knowledge to a new generation of researchers, further strengthening our mutual capacity and result in significant economic and social benefit,’ said Stirling.