ARC’s training centre pioneers vessel efficiency boost

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Image credit: ARC

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has launched the ARC Training Centre for Biofilm Research and Innovation in Adelaide in a push to enhance vessel efficiency.

Dr Richard Johnson, the deputy chief executive officer of ARC, graced the inauguration ceremony, underlining the importance of this initiative.

Led by Flinders University, the ARC Training Centre is poised to become a hub for training, mentoring, and fostering partnerships between skilled professionals and engineers.

The primary objective is to devise innovative solutions for biofouling control, a persistent challenge faced by maritime industries, the council said in a news release.

Dr Johnson emphasised the collaborative nature of the project, involving five universities and eleven industry partners.

“The ARC Training Centre for Biofilm Research and Innovation, a collaboration between 5 universities and 11 industry partners, will produce the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers able to tackle the challenge of biofouling,” Dr Johnson said.

According to data reported by ARC, biofouling, the adherence of organisms such as algae and barnacles to submerged vessel surfaces, poses a serious threat.

Once established, biofilms are notoriously difficult to eliminate. They adversely affect a ship’s hull drag, maneuverability, energy efficiency, and lead to increased fuel consumption.

“It will be inspiring to watch the Centre foster new and more productive collaborations that advance and translate knowledge to better manage this challenge in the water services sector,” said Dr Johnson.

He further highlighted the broader implications of the initiative, stating, “Among the most significant outcomes will be a generation of industry-focused researchers critical for growing Australia’s Defence industry capability and will make Australia a world leader in sustainment of maritime platforms and maintenance.”

The Training Centre is expected to attract a talented cohort, including 14 PhD students, 40 Researchers, four Research Fellows, and six Research Assistants, contributing to the pool of experts dedicated to addressing biofouling challenges.

The ARC has committed a substantial investment of $5 million over five years in the ARC Training Centre for Biofilm Research and Innovation under the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Program scheme.

This investment underscores the ARC’s commitment to fostering cutting-edge research and innovation with tangible applications in critical sectors.

For more information about ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres, visit the ARC website.