World leading experts to spearhead $20m of vital space sector R&D investment by SmartSat CRC

Associate Professor Tat-Jun Chin

Associate Professor Tat-Jun Chin 

In a $20m investment, nine Professorial Chairs have been established by SmartSat and its partner universities in artificial intelligence, optical communications and cybersecurity for development of next generation space technologies to stimulate Australia’s economic growth in space.

Adelaide University, Swinburne and UniSA are the first universities to announce three professorial chairs today. These experts will drive new frontier research in artificial intelligence for satellite systems and new space cybersecurity technologies.

A further 6 professorial chairs will boost this first of its kind space R&D initiative, The Australian National University, Sydney University, and the University of NSW are the other three universities which are part of this nation-building space capability development.

The trio, Professors Jill Slay, Christopher Fluke and Tat-Jun Chin, will form a Research and Development advisory group to refine the SmartSat research program in priority areas for space systems research and development, and boost the translation of research for industry application.

“As a global leader, it is very appropriate Tat-Jun Chin brings his extensive knowledge of advanced space system autonomy, intelligence and decision making, on-board machine learning and AI technology to SmartSat CRC.”Professor Anton Middelberg

SmartSat CEO, Professor Andy Koronios, says the appointment of the Professorial Chairs is a significant step towards growing Australia’s space capabilities and expertise and to strengthening international collaboration.

“We are thrilled to announce the appointment of these outstanding Professorial Chairs who will  grow SmartSat’s national knowledge network and extend important existing international connections to our research programs,” Prof Koronios says.

“SmartSat is committed to attracting high calibre researchers who have strong track records in leading translational research and proven experience in contributing to Australia’s space research performance. We’re confident these Professorial Chairs will accelerate the progress of our research portfolios in vital areas for our space industry and for national security. “

Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of South Australia, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington says global demand for secure systems of communication can be met through smart investment in people.

“As a proud partner of SmartSat, UniSA is delighted to be working with the CRC to make a significant investment in capability,” she says.  

"Jill Slay’s expertise is internationally respected and she will make a significant contribution through her knowledge, networks and her leadership in teaching and research.”

Professor Anton Middelberg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research) of the University of Adelaide confirmed that Assoc Prof Tat-Jun Chin is an international leader in AI and machine learning for space applications.

“As a global leader, it is very appropriate Tat-Jun Chin brings his extensive knowledge of advanced space system autonomy, intelligence and decision making, on-board machine learning and AI technology to SmartSat CRC,” Professor Middelberg said.

“The mandate of CRCs is to develop sustainable new industries. This requires the right people to fill future jobs and in addition to his global leadership, TJ brings the inspiration and mentorship to build a dedicated CRC activity to deliver next-generation space technologies.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at Swinburne, Professor Bronwyn Fox, says the appointment of the professorial chairs will enhance the impactful research of the SmartSat CRC and drive the growth of the emerging Australian space sector.

“Astrophysicist Professor Fluke is a highly respected interdisciplinary researcher and his collaborative approach coupled with his advanced visualisation and data expertise will be important for tackling the unique industry problems that the SmartSat CRC will address.”

“Swinburne’s world-leading expertise in astronomical data processing and visualisation, machine learning and AI techniques, and our internationally recognised Industry 4.0 capabilities will help to develop space technologies that will transform our industries and society.”

An industry focused doctoral program through SmartSat will further build Australia’s space high-tech knowledge.  Five PhD scholarships have already been approved with a further six under consideration with a total goal of more than 70 PHDs over seven years.

Biographies: Professorial Chairs

University of South Australia’s Prof Jill Slay is the new Professorial Chair of Cyber Security.   Prof Slay is currently Theme Leader of SmartSat’s Cyber Security & Resilience program.  Her expertise in cyber security and critical infrastructure protection teaching and research will strengthen links to leading international research centres and build capability this critical area.

A leading international researcher in data-driven astronomy visualisation from Swinburne University, as Professorial Chair of Space System Data Fusion and Cognition, Prof  Christopher Fluke will further develop capabilities in real-time, data-driven discovery and decision-making, and form collaborations with experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning, skilled performance, human factors research, cognitive assessment, and user-centred design.

Professorial Chair of Sentient Spacecraft, the University of Adelaide’s Assoc Prof Tat-Jun Chin will build Australia’s largest research group dedicated to AI and machine learning for space and actively seek to partner with industry to ensure timely transfer of the research outputs to industry. Recently, Tat-Jun led the team that won the global POSE challenge organised by the European Space Agency and Stanford University last year, beating many international teams. Winning the challenge, which was to use machine learning to estimate the relative position and attitude of a known spacecraft from individual grayscale images, cemented his position as a global leader in his field.

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