Charles Sturt University drives R&D in joining the NSSN

Charles Sturt

The NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN) has welcomed Charles Sturt University as the newest member of its consortium of leading universities across NSW and the ACT. 

Other universities currently part of the network include the Australian National University, Macquarie University, University of Newcastle, University of Technology Sydney, UNSW, University of Sydney and Western Sydney University. 

“Charles Sturt University boasts first-class R&D capability in smart sensing, particularly in areas that the NSSN Grand Challenges are addressing,” NSSN Board chair Dr Susan Pond said. “These include water as a precious resource critical to sustainable agriculture, healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, and bushfire prevention, response and mitigation.” 

The NSSN operates across seven thematic areas including the built environment, data analytics, environment and AgTech, manufacturing, MedTech, resources and energy, and space and aviation. The areas are led by NSSN theme leaders, who are experts in their respective fields and provide consultations to research and industry partners on various topics, such as collaborative R&D projects and avenues to receiving funding. 

“Charles Sturt University is a research powerhouse in regional NSW with a strong capability in environmental sensing, agtech and data modelling and analytics,” NSSN co-directors Professor Benjamin Eggleton and Professor Julien Epps said. “The university provides meaningful reach and perspectives from regional NSW, and a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the NSSN.” 

According to Charles Sturt pro vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Michael Friend, the NSSN has demonstrated the power of collaboration through delivering impactful smart sensing solutions across many industries. 

“As an innovation Network, the NSSN brings together universities with industry and government to translate world-class research into compelling solutions. We look forward to working with other NSSN member universities to create solutions with meaningful outcomes for all NSW,” Friend said.  

Founded in 2016, the NSSN has activated and led several multi-million dollar collaborative R&D programs to drive an impact for its members. 

In one of these recent projects, researchers from ANU, University of Canberra, UTS, UNSW and the University of Newcastle collaborated with Sydney Water and nine other water utilities on a $3.4 million project to use Advanced Sensing to Reduce Leaks & Breaks. 

The program consisted of five projects using Acoustic Sensing, Data Analytics, Distributed Acoustic Sensing, LiDAR Sensing and Quantum Sensing to predict and detect leaks and breaks in urban water networks.  

The collaboration succeeded in significantly raising the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of a range of innovations applicable to the water industry, with Sydney Water estimating savings of over $3 million per year directly attributable to the program. 

Exclusive access to direct funding is available to NSSN members via the annual NSSN Grand Challenges Fund. The fund was established in 2021 to support collaborative R&D projects that respond to NSSN Grand Challenges: bushfires, water, COVID-19, ageing, smart places and mining.  

The NSSN has developed a matchmaking platform to enable industry and government partners to browse through NSSN capabilities. The database serves as a comprehensive repository for researchers with expertise in smart sensing technologies from across NSSN member universities. 

Charles Sturt researchers may collaborate with the Network through the NSSN ambassador at Charles Sturt University, Dr Muhammad Arif Khan, or the NSSN coordinator at Charles Sturt University, Dr Jamin Forbes. 

“Charles Sturt University has a unique capability in environmental sensing, automation and computing with applications across all of NSSN’s research themes and grand challenges,” Khan said. 

“NSSN’s capability in activating R&D projects empowers our researchers to engage in industry-wide collaborations more often, share our knowledge of the regions and contribute to the Network’s mission to position NSW as a leader in smart sensing innovation.”