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The successful creation of CADET, the Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training, will play a big role in producing researchers of the future, according to Deakin’s DVC (Research), Professor Lee Astheimer.
“CADET will produce a pipeline of research students in manufacturing, engineering design and materials as it increases the attractive of these disciplines,” she said.
“I would hope for an uptake of between five and 15 per cent of people going into applied research.”
Deakin's Waurn Ponds campus, where the proposed CADET operation would be based, is already a hotbed of research in engineering and advanced materials.
It is home to the new Institute for Frontier Materials and also, supported by the Victorian Government, the world's first dedicated carbon fibre research facility.
So the opportunities for young engineers who become part of CADET to continue into a research career will be on their doorstep.
CADET is a $55 million state-of-the-art engineering facility that Deakin has initiated in partnership with the Gordon Institute of TAFE.
Deakin is seeking $21 million under the Education Investment Fund to build the new facility that will address Australia’s critical skills shortage in engineering. The university is also contributing $30 million to the project.
CADET will emphasise product design and development through virtual and physical modelling, simulation and prototyping – all skills that are critical to address 21st century engineering challenges.
The facility will offer programs for young people right from Year 8 through to PhD level and, as such, is expected to be valued by secondary schools as a vital resource for their maths and science programs.
Deakin has been working with Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College and Belmont High School to design programs for CADET.
The new facility has been designed to attract a new cohort of secondary school students to engineering, particularly young women who are under-represented in the profession.
The Deakin bid was shortlisted to the final round for funding consideration last month. Deakin is understood to be the only Victorian university to make it through to the second round.
Vice Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said that CADET was a project that would bring substantial benefits to the Geelong community.
“This is a significant project, not only for Deakin, but for the broader south-west Victorian region as it is all about skilling the workforce for the jobs of the future using a design-based interactive curriculum that brings creativity and practical skills together,” she said.
Economic modelling by the City of Greater Geelong indicates that, during construction, the project would generate up to 187 new jobs in Geelong and economic activity of around $160 million.
Professor den Hollander said the project had received widespread support across the Geelong community.
The outcome of Deakin’s funding application is expected to be announced later this year.