USC joins $245m space industry research program - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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USC joins $245m space industry research program

28 Nov 2019

Fourteen University of the Sunshine Coast research academics and staff have joined the largest space industry research collaboration in Australia’s history, worth $245 million over the next seven years.

Senior Lecturer in Geospatial Analysis Dr Sanjeev Srivastava is leading USC’s contributions to the SmartSat CRC (Smart Satellite Cooperative Research Centre) after assisting in its development.

The new CRC is a consortium of universities and research organisations, partnered with industry funded by the Australian Government to increase the country’s capacity to harness space technology and create high-tech businesses, exports and jobs.

Target areas are mining, agriculture, transport and logistics, defence and telecommunications needs.

It will develop know-how and technologies in advanced telecommunications, the Internet of Things connectivity, intelligent satellite systems, and next-generation data services for Earth observation.

Dr Srivastava said he was delighted to be selected as one of four members representing universities within the CRC’s education and training advisory committee.

“This committee will guide the creation of an education and training college platform to help new generations of innovators advance their research careers and research ideas in key areas,” he said.

“We just met for the first time to discuss goals such as graduating more than 70 PhD students, training 400 engineers, and building a pipeline of school-age, undergraduate and VET (Vocational Education and Training) students with these skills.”

An expert in gathering and analysing geographic data to map locations on Earth, Dr Srivastava said USC also would participate in separate elements of the CRC’s research, particularly in the area of Earth Observation-Driven Data Analytics.

“Earth observations from space enable us to understand and predict weather and extreme climatic events,” he said.

“They help us monitor Australia’s terrestrial and aquatic natural resources, built environment and national assets such as the world heritage-listed K’gari (Fraser Island) and Great Barrier Reef.

“USC is collaborating with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, HQ Plantations, Seqwater, and Lake Baroon Catchment Care Group to develop studies that can apply the latest geospatial data analytics derived from a diverse range of systems.”

An example could be using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to process high-resolution, high-frequency, satellite-collected data and trigger actions for natural resource managers in real-time.

“This could be extremely useful in mapping and managing bushfires, identifying and controlling erosion hot spots, and monitoring water quality, landslides, weed growth and animals.”

The SmartSat CRC involves 17 universities, 13 global companies, 20 Australian companies, 40 start-ups, four government agencies, the Australian Defence Department and CSIRO.

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