Antarctic and Southern Ocean research will be enhanced through a newly established Centre for Antarctic and Southern Ocean Technology (CAST).

The collaborative centre was launched this evening with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian Antarctic Division, CSIRO and the University of Tasmania.

Australian Antarctic Division Director, Mr Kim Ellis, said the formation of CAST strengthens and formalises the already high levels of cooperation between the AAD, CSIRO and UTAS, and will provide opportunities to work with other project partners from across Tasmania.

“CAST brings together the amazing innovation and skill that our teams already apply on a daily basis, and elevates that in a way we have not achieved before – built on common goals around the use of emerging technologies, the desire to solve complex problems and the necessity to support world leading research,” he said.

Through CAST the three research institutions aim to enhance:

  • collaboration and innovation in areas of technology and engineering, to achieve greater safety, effectiveness, efficiencies, opportunities and outcomes for all institutions;
  • the pooling of expertise among partners to create new opportunities and gain greater efficiency;
  • educational opportunities and training, especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields relating to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean; and
  • expertise and support for the existing workforce and work programs.

“If we are to meet our organisational and national obligations; if we are to keep our people safe; if we are to deliver efficiently, we must focus on the use of new and emerging technology,” Mr Ellis said.

“We must find ways to gather more information, to share it effectively, to reach areas that have previously been beyond our reach, to open new frontiers in science and to ensure that we are leading the world in our research and operations.”

CAST fulfils a priority in the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 year Action Plan, to advance Australia’s interests in Antarctica by building Tasmania’s and Hobart’s status as a global polar research hub.