Hendy Cowan

Hendy Cowan


    Marine science centre gets Government funding

    21/12/2000 8:05 AM

    The State Government will provide $670,000 over three years to support the establishment of a world-class Centre for Marine Science and Technology in Western Australia.

    Commerce and Trade Minister Hendy Cowan said the new facility at Curtin University of Technology would be an elite centre for research and innovation in marine acoustics, surface vessel hydrodynamics and underwater technology.

    “The scope of research planned for the centre has the potential to revolutionise commercial activities in areas ranging from new ship design through to sea floor surveys,” Mr Cowan said.

    “It is estimated that the potential savings for industry from research and development in underwater technology could run into hundreds of millions of dollars, while also creating opportunities for a range of new industries to establish in WA.

    “Another benefit is that the centre will provide an excellent education and training environment for students and industry professionals and exciting opportunities for postgraduate students in marine science and technology to move into the workforce.

    “WA’s exports of ships and boats were worth $257.8 million in 1998-99, a doubling in the four years since 1994-95.”

    Mr Cowan said the centre would focus its research on four major industry markets:
    • the oil and gas industry and sub-sea engineering industry including projects in vision and vehicle positioning technology;
    • the high-performance surface vessel industry with hydrodynamics and vessel stability; and -
    • the defence industry with marine acoustics and instrumentation.

    Mr Cowan said the funding had been approved under the State Government’s Centres of Excellence Program, which recognises that it is expensive and technically risky for industry to fund significant research and development activities of this type and scale.

    “It is essential that the Government helps put in place research infrastructure that will provide broad-based benefits to industry and the State. These can then be utilised on a collaborative basis by all parties,” he said.

    Curtin University will contribute over $3.3 million cash and in-kind support to the centre over three years and industry will also provide significant support.

    Mr Cowan said the research centre would operate from two sites - within existing facilities at the university’s Bentley campus and at new waterfront facilities to be established at Jervoise Bay.

    Media contact: Peter Jackson 9222-9595