New era for rail and big data research

30 April 2014

Deakin will be part of the new $31 million Rail Manufacturing CRC and the $25 million Data to Decisions CRC that will both build Australian capability, global competitiveness and best practice approaches in these areas.

Minister McFarlane emphasised the collaborative nature of Co-operative Research Centres as their key feature, enabling the pooling of resources from organisations across Australia and internationally, to create new opportunities and develop solutions to assist Australian industry.

Deakin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Lee Astheimer said that involvement in two of the three new CRCs was an outstanding endorsement of Deakin.

‘This success aligns with the Deakin agenda to make innovation and collaboration our core business', Professor Astheimer said. ‘It also reflects the relevance of our research to national and global issues, and the strong collaborative relationships that we have developed with industry, government bodies and our colleagues in other universities.’

Deakin’s Centre for Intelligent Systems Research will be involved with the Rail Manufacturing CRC, which aims to ‘develop products, technologies and supply chain networks to increase the capability and globally competitive position of the rail industry.’

Responding to the ‘On Track to 2040 Technology Roadmap’ that was produced by the rail industry, government and the National Innovation System, the Rail Manufacturing CRC will address supply chain fragmentation that currently exists, particularly in relation to manufacturing and technology development. It will aim to improve access by local firms to overseas markets and associated global supply chains.

Professor Saeid Nahavandi, Director of Deakin’s Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR), said that the Centre will be involved with the Rail Manufacturing CRC in a number of areas.

‘We have already been in touch with several companies who will also be part of the CRC’, Professor Nahavandi said. ‘Our researchers will be working in the area of propulsion and technical development, from an electrical machines perspective. They will be involved in modelling simulation areas, from design to manufacture, of rail tracks, and we expect to participate in projects from a decision making perspective, in relation to rail signalling and control networks.’

Professor Nahavandi added that he expects CISR involvement in the CRC will lead to collaboration with other parts of Deakin, particularly the Institute for Frontier Materials and the School of Engineering.

With society now producing an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, from sources such as satellite imagery, social media content and digital pictures, the Data to Decisions (D2D) CRC will develop tools that aim to maximise the ability of Australia’s defence and national security sector to analyse big data. The CRC aims to reduce national security threats in areas such as intelligence, law enforcement, border security and diplomacy.

A critical part of the D2D CRC will be its research into the policy aspects of big data. In particular, the CRC will inform legal policy making by researching relevant policy options and solutions, with the aim of maximising the big data solutions produced by the CRC. The CRC’s policy research program will be led by Professor Louis de Koker, Chair in Law at Deakin’s School of Law.

Deakin’s School of Information and Business Analytics will also be involved, as leader of the CRC’s education and training program, drawing upon Deakin’s Masters of Business Analytics Program, which will be supplemented with courses from partner universities. Head of the School, Professor Dineli Mather, said that the education and training program plans to train 50 PhD students and 1000 data scientists through the CRC.


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