UniSA is a globally connected university, collaborating with more than 2,500 companies worldwide. We work with a variety of organisations, from not-for-profits to multinational companies, to help them innovate and adapt to change. Our expertise and experience can be applied to a wide range of disciplines and sectors.

Through our multidisciplinary approach, we can work with you to solve problems, reveal new opportunities, predict future trends and produce creative solutions that support future growth.

A battle of millimetres: UniSA research informs submarine habitability for enhanced human performance

A team of researchers from UniSA are looking at how we can make a submarine and it's interior bigger. Submariners live and work within submarines for months on end, operating under extreme mental load within high-stakes settings. In addition to this isolation and intensity, crew members must endure a lack of sunlight, a lack of sleep, and distinct lack of space. Find out how we can make the interior feel bigger.

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“Everything comes down to sleep. If you cannot get a good sleep your decision-making, and your emotions, are far from optimal. We have looked at how the interior of a submarine, especially its sleeping quarters, can assist our RAN crew members to perform at their very best. In our research ,our prototype designs have ensured that lighting is optimised, that beds are not too narrow, and that noise is mitigated as much as possible, along with other measures.”

Professor Siobhan Banks, UniSA

Breaking boundaries: Precision facility unlocks new capabilities for defence manufacturing

The University of South Australia’s (UniSA) new Precision Engineering Centre is at the cutting-edge of defence manufacturing, quite literally. The new centre, located at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, is the culmination of a decade-long collaboration between the SA Node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF-SA), which operates within UniSA, and the Research Engineering (RE) at Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG).

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“The micro and nanofabrication capabilities will be critical in the development of next generation prototypes and new methods for defence manufacturing.”

Craig Priest, UniSA Professor and Director of ANFF-SA

Fighting corrosion to prolong the life of Australian Defence Force assets

With the AUKUS Alliance delivering US Virginia Class and SSN-AUKUS Class submarines over the 2030s and 2040s, the need to extend the life of Australia’s Collins-class is becoming increasingly critical. Researchers from UniSA have created laser cladding technology that mitigates vessel corrosion and will deliver Life of Type Extension (LOTE) to Australia’s maritime industry.

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“Our researchers work to enhance the performance of materials in extreme environments – allowing metal, glass and plastics to withstand damage for longer periods of time.”

Professor Colin Hall, Industry Professor, Future Industries Institute, UniSA

Eavesdropping in the Indo-Pacific through novel deep sensing technology

Australia faces the ever-increasing challenge of maintaining its maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region. Monitoring and safeguarding the region – which is home to extensive maritime borders, grey-zone operations, and trillion-dollar trade routes – requires significant resources and strategic coordination. UniSA has worked with Acacia Systems and Arkwright Technologies to develop a highly sensitive hydrophone that captures the slightest of sounds underwater.

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“Together, we’ve created a hydrophone – an underwater microphone – that takes the form of optical fibre cables. It surpasses the sensitivity of any existing electronic hydrophone technology today.”

Dr Stephen Warren-Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Future Industries Institute, UniSA

A collective approach to address cyberattacks

While 99% of attempted cyberattacks are thwarted, the 1% that manage to slip through the net are wreaking not only economic damage, but significant reputational, legal, and personal harm to corporations and civilians. With the cybercrime ‘bill’ now estimated to be at AUD $12 trillion a year, cybersecurity experts are calling for a new, more transparent, and collective approach to address cyberattacks.

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“Digital technologies are here to stay, but for societies to thrive, we need to make our systems and data more secure, and we need to collectively become cyber resilient.”

Associate Professor Mamello Thinyane, Optus Chair of Cybersecurity and Data Science, UniSA

Using artificial intelligence to detect COVID-19

UniSA and partner Draganfly Inc have developed world-first technology that remotely detects the key symptoms of COVID-19 – breathing and heart rates, temperature, and blood oxygen levels.

A UniSA team led by Professor Javaan Chahl collaborated with Draganfly, the world’s oldest commercial drone manufacturer, to develop technology that combines engineering, drones, cameras, and artificial intelligence to monitor people’s vital health signs remotely. Within months, the technology had moved from drones to security cameras and kiosks, scanning vital health signs in 15 seconds.  

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“We came to UniSA with a fantasy… a customer request that we wanted to accomplish. The key thing was that UniSA didn’t sit back and wait for a list of requirements… they had a keen understanding of how both public safety and security really worked and what the product would need to do.”

Cameron Chell, Draganfly CEO

Energy efficient, on-time trains

Software developed by UniSA and industry partners TTG and Modaxo uses information about a train, its route, and schedule to calculate efficient driving strategies and advise drivers when to accelerate and brake to ensure they arrive on time with minimum energy use.

The software, trademarked as Energymiser, is now on trains across the UK, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa, saving rail companies up to 20 per cent of their energy costs. 

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The world is evolving faster than it ever has. With a smart and dedicated TTG and UniSA team, we will continue to maintain a heightened level of curiosity and focus on how we improve technology capability to drive sustainability in transport.

Ben Dvoracek, Managing Director of ANZ Rail at TTG and Trapeze

Treating gastric disease in horses

Equine gastric disease affects millions of horses worldwide, especially in the racing and endurance riding sectors. The current standard treatment for gastric disease and associated ulcers is a daily oral paste, but for some ulcers oral treatment can be ineffective, and many horses don’t accept the paste willingly.  
An eight-year joint project between UniSA and animal health industry partner Luoda Pharma has produced a long-acting gastric ulcer medicine, injected weekly, that heals ulcers in horses much faster than current treatments. 

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“Through the collaboration with Prof Garg’s team of researchers at UniSA, we have together invented something of great direct benefit to horses, and secondarily to their owners, worldwide. The unmet clinical needs we are endeavouring to solve are all very challenging – they have never been solved before.” 

Dr Stephen Page, Head of Product Development, Luoda Pharma

Better cancer detection for more precise treatment

In partnership with medical device company, Ferronova, researchers from UniSA’s Future Industries Institute (FII), Dr Aidan Cousins and Professor Benjamin Thierry, have developed a biodiagnostic system to refine cancer detection. The system consists of a magnetic probe and injectable magnetic nanoscale tracers, able to detect the spread of cancer less invasively, more quickly, and more accurately than existing methods. It delivers an accurate and affordable system for the staging of deep or complex cancers, such as head and neck, gastrointestinal and oesophageal cancers.

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“Translating university IP into human trials is a significant undertaking, and the Ferronova nanoparticle technology is one of the first new magnetic nanoparticle technologies to be translated to the clinic in over 20 years... The collaboration has been positive for both UniSA and Ferronova.”

Stewart Bartlett, CEO, Ferronova

Shatterproof mirrors for safer, lower-emission cars

Through collaborative research, UniSA has partnered with Adelaide-based company SMR Automotive, in a partnership that has delivered the world’s first shatterproof plastic car mirror. By combining materials already available to the car industry, the new design capitalised on existing availability, while also simplifying assembly. 
Weighing 50 per cent less than a conventional glass mirror, the plastic mirror has reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Its durability has also increased safety and reliability for the automotive industry, with a significant drop in mirror failure.

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“As an immediate result of the collaboration with UniSA, SMR Australia constructed a world-class advanced surface technology manufacturing facility. By adding this new capability to its manufacturing portfolio, SMR Australia successfully capitalised on this opportunity and is now supplying advanced interior lighting products for a European supercar manufacturer.”

Dr Bastian Stoehr, Design Engineer, SMR

Laser coating machinery for longevity

Minerals processing machinery is expensive and endures extreme levels of erosion, corrosion, and wear and tear induced by repetitive impact. Shutdowns for repairs and maintenance of equipment can cost more than $100,000 for every hour of downtime.

Australian surface engineering company, LaserBond, and UniSA’s specialist Coatings Research Group at the Future Industries Institute, are developing some of the world’s most resilient minerals processing equipment through the use of composite coatings and laser cladding. 

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“We strongly believe that collaborations between industry and universities are vital in increasingly competitive and globalised markets. Such projects give LaserBond access to expertise and facilities that would be impossible to develop in-house. Co-funding models help us benefit from every R&D dollar and allow us to innovate and stay competitive in a global market.”

Dr Thomas Schläfer, Engineering Manager, R&D, LaserBond

Adaptable, affordable vaccines for multiple conditions

Despite safe and effective vaccines being available for a wide range of infectious diseases, prevention and treatment of more complex conditions, including allergy and cancer, remain elusive. Furthermore, vaccines are complex to manufacture, making them difficult to produce to a scale, quality and cost that supports widespread global access. An ongoing collaboration between South Australian biotech company Sementis Ltd and UniSA’s Experimental Therapeutics Laboratory has developed a vaccine delivery platform that can potentially produce easy-to-manufacture vaccines for multiple acute and chronic disease conditions.

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“The collaboration with UniSA over the past 11 years has resulted in the development of what is Australia’s most advanced viral-vector vaccine technology platform technology, and we look forward to continuing the collaboration to support the work of Sementis to scale this vaccine technology ready for clinical trials.”

Leanne Hobbs, CEO, Sementis

Local talent meeting global VFX demand

To meet the Australian film and television industries need for fresh and highly skilled visual effects talent, UniSA and Rising Sun Pictures partnered up to deliver tailored VFX postgraduate programs, student placements and mentorship opportunities.  

RSP saw the opportunity to not only nurture creativity and develop workforce-ready artists, but also invest back into their state of origin. Since this partnerships inception in 2015, approximately 30 UniSA alumni are currently employed at RSP and over 120 graduates working in industry. 

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“Course delivery at RSP is more than just learning technical skills, we value add to the students’ experience here by incorporating master classes, resume, show reel and interview tips. Our goal is to make the students’ learning as immersive as possible and be studio ready, and I think we’ve successfully achieved that.”

Anna Hodge, Manager of Training and Education , Rising Sun Pictures

Turning complex data into stories people can see

The world has seen a rapid increase in the amount of data available on everything from our health to our education to our national security. While this huge bank of information holds enormous potential benefits, finding a way to present it in a digestible, usable format is a key challenge shared across a range of sectors. UniSA has worked with BAE Systems and IMCRC to develop simple visual methods for representing complex data to map the operational and service histories of frigates.

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“Sometimes industry can be constrained in its thinking as a result of process and procedures which we are required to adhere to, especially in the defence sector. Collaborating with university researchers, like those at UniSA, enables industry teams to again think freely, as such constraints are not embedded in academic researchers.”

Wendy Bourke, Senior Project Manager, Innovation, Research and Technology, Hunter Class Frigate Program, BAE Systems

Improving mental health in aged care

UniSA has partnered with Helping Hand to address widespread apathy and improve mental health in aged care using virtual reality (VR) technology. Apathy in aged care homes hastens cognitive decline and can affect up to 84 per cent of older populations.  

The innovative tool enables seniors to relive happy memories from their past through a 360-degree experience. Residents with the highest levels of apathy showed the most improvement suggesting using VR may help improve the lives of older adults in residential aged care. 

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“Working with Helping Hand allowed me to understand aged care systems and procedures so I could ensure we were engaging with both residents and their families in the right way while providing person-centred care.”

Dimitrios Saredakis, PhD Candidate at UniSA

Helping keep astronauts healthy in space

As humanity looks to expand its presence beyond Earth, the wellbeing of the women and men who undertake off-planet activities remains top priority. With space missions likely to become longer over coming years, developing reliable ways to monitor the health of astronauts is a crucial aspect of space exploration. UniSA’s Associate Professor Craig Priest is currently working with NASA to develop non-invasive sensors to monitor health through the testing of bodily fluids such as sweat and saliva, identifying potential health issues quickly and easily.

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“The combined expertise and capabilities comprised in this effort have been beneficial in addressing problems of mutual scientific interests to our respective organizations, which could open the doors for further collaborations in this area, as well as other related areas of interest.”

Dr Félix A. Miranda, Deputy Chief, Communications and Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Glenn Research Center

Developing Aboriginal medicines to fight inflammation

Aboriginal Peoples were the first to research and understand the effects of Australian plants, with thousands of years of accumulated knowledge about their properties and how to best to use them. A long-term partnership between UniSA researchers and Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation is leading the way in understanding the healing potential of plant species used in Aboriginal medicine, while also creating a model for equitable partnerships and benefit sharing between Aboriginal and Western scientific researchers.

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“I hope that this work will continue to provide opportunities for Aboriginal custodians to manage and direct research on their land and receive ongoing income from the intellectual property of their heritage, as well as support the passing down of traditional plant knowledge from Elders to younger generations.”

Dr Susan Semple, Senior Research Fellow, University of South Australia

Using children’s voices to build better worlds

Decisions affecting children’s lives are made every day, often with little input from children themselves. In partnership with Australian Department of Education, local communities and importantly, children, we found a better way. Children were engaged directly and involved in the decision-making to ensure their voices were heard. Through this partnership we developed UniSA’s Children’s Voices principles, which involved talking with children about their lives and needs, collecting their responses and encouraging them to become involved in decisions that affect them.

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“We have engaged end-users with the voices of over 5,000 children to date. This engagement has influenced state policies, national Child-Friendly Cities approaches, community planning, children’s literacy, and the provision of educational resources.”

Professor Pauline Harris, Chair in Early Childhood (Research), University of South Australia

Bridging the language, culture and knowledge divide

UniSA has a strong 30-year relationship with Anangu (Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara) (APY) communities through teaching and learning of language and culture, remote teacher training, and research. Our work in APY communities has become even stronger through a collaborative partnership with Iwiri, a corporation of Anangu members living in Adelaide.

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“This work is only possible because of UniSA, which worked closely with us to get started. This included supported conversations with government and other organisations, supporting the establishment of good governance practices, making connections with financial management organisations, and supporting our major projects and events.”

Aaron Ken, Co-chair, Iwiri Aboriginal Corporation

Keeping Aboriginal women’s hearts strong

Despite our nation’s commitment to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal Peoples, a significant life expectancy gap remains, with heart disease the leading cause of death in women. UniSA PhD candidate Katharine McBride is working with Aboriginal women and health providers such as Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Primary Health Care Service to encourage governments to approach health from an Aboriginal perspective. 

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“As an Aboriginal man, it has given me confidence that the research is meeting community priorities and delivering benefits on the ground for Aboriginal women. Being a partner in the design and process, has taught us we can do so much better.”

Kurt Towers, Executive Director Aboriginal Health, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network

Fighting corrosion to prolong the life of Australian Defence Force assets

With the AUKUS Alliance delivering US Virginia Class and SSN-AUKUS Class submarines over the 2030s and 2040s, the need to extend the life of Australia’s Collins-class is becoming increasingly critical. Researchers from UniSA have created laser cladding technology that mitigates vessel corrosion and will deliver Life of Type Extension (LOTE) to Australia’s maritime industry.

Read more

“Our researchers work to enhance the performance of materials in extreme environments – allowing metal, glass and plastics to withstand damage for longer periods of time.”

Professor Colin Hall, Industry Professor, Future Industries Institute, UniSA

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