Advanced Manufacturing

UNSW Canberra’s Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory working alongside Ford to improve safety

Advanced Manufacturing

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Lab located at UNSW Canberra City, led by Associate Professor Matt Doolan, has been working with Ford Australia and other key industry partners in a bid to improve safety.

The team are striving to improve quality and reduce downtime by harnessing machine learning to develop novel techniques to monitor weld quality and improve vehicle safety.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Lab was established for the development and use of innovative technologies for the fabrication of products, covering teaching, research and consulting in various manufacturing processes. This includes advanced laser and laser-hybrid processing of materials, high pressure water jet and air jet processing of materials, mechanical machining, additive manufacturing, and friction and wear.

Associate Professor Doolan completed his PhD in process control at Ford Australia’s former stamping operations facility. He has worked for the Mount Stromlo Observatory on the world’s largest telescopes – the Gemini telescopes, and as an academic in the School of Engineering at the Australian National University. He has led many manufacturing and industry research projects including:

  • process and dimensional control with Ford Australia
  • supply chain management with Toll Auto Logistics and Futuris
  • recycling with the AutoCRC and the ARC Training Centre of Lightweight Automotive Structres (ATLAS)

Associate Professor Doolan also led the highly acclaimed industry technology road mapping projects, Automotive Australia 2020 and On Track to 2040. He has also been involved in a range of different commercial activities across a number of Canberra start-ups and businesses.

With the ongoing advancement in manufacturing techniques, the team at UNSW Canberra City will continue to increase efficiency and improve the sustainability of manufacturing processes.


Skykraft opens new satellite manufacturing facility at UNSW Canberra


The UNSW Canberra City campus is now home to a newly launched Skykraft manufacturing facility. The new facility is enabling the development of the largest ever Australian manufactured space payload which is confirmed for launch this year with SpaceX from Florida.

Skykraft is an Australian company and UNSW Canberra spin-off that delivers services from space, focusing on the development of a space-based Air Traffic Management (ATM) service. The new Canberra manufacturing facility will produce ATM services with an aim to deliver surveillance and communications data for aircraft travelling across regions not covered by existing systems, including oceanic or remote locations.

“Skykraft’s space-based solution allows real-time communications between air traffic controllers and pilots, allowing for the reduction in separation between aircraft over oceanic airspace, enhancing efficiency and delivering environmental benefits,” Skykraft’s chairman, Air Vice Marshal (Ret’d) Mark Skidmore, said.

The new manufacturing facility is aiming to produce up to five satellites by 30 June 2022 with a further 12 satellites throughout the second half of 2022. Satellite production is expected to expand in 2023, with 45 satellites scheduled for production in the first half of 2023 and 120 satellites in the second half.

Read more about the Skykraft

inside the new City Campus

Professor Robert Fitzgerald appointed Head of School

inside the new City Campus

UNSW Canberra recently established the School of Professional Studies, appointing Professor Robert Fitzgerald as Head of School.

Formerly the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education Strategy at Charles Darwin University (CDU), Professor Fitzgerald was responsible for education strategy, digital learning and academic quality across both higher education and vocational education. Robert has built an international reputation for innovation and research in technology-enhanced educational practice.  He brings with him a wealth of knowledge in education, technology and leadership with a strong reputation across government and education sectors which will enable the Canberra School of Professional Studies to establish itself quickly whilst investigating opportunities for future growth.

Robert Fitzgerald
Professor Robert Fitzgerald

The approach of the new School will be to co-design high quality and innovative education products and services with stakeholders across university, government and industry bodies. This will be based on the best of entrepreneurial education, where the goal is to develop students’ capacity to create social, cultural, and economic value in response to real world problems.

The School will offer relevant and agile academic programs and professional education which reflect the needs of the modern workforce, while producing graduates who are job ready and capable of leadership and professional practice both for Canberra and a broader global community.

Impression of City Campus

UNSW Canberra City campus in final stages of approval

Impression of City Campus

The UNSW Canberra City campus Master Plan is in the final stages of approval. Once approved, the Master Plan will be rolled out in four major stages to accommodate future growth and investment.

The Canberra City campus will be a world-class research, education and innovation campus located in the middle of Canberra’s research and innovation corridor in the heart of Canberra. It will further grow the city’s reputation as Australia’s education and innovation capital by leveraging Canberra’s existing research, technology and government ecosystem.

In anticipation for construction to commence, the team at UNSW Canberra have commenced operations from the new UNSW Canberra City location, which is currently located at CIT Reid, fostering valuable connections with Defence, industry and academia.

City Campus Map
Image: UNSW Canberra proposed new city campus location

The new campus will be located on approximately 8 hectares of land either side of Constitution Avenue in Reid and Parkes. CIT Reid is set to be moved to a new flagship facility based in Woden.

The UNSW Canberra City campus will establish education and research facilities, collaborative industry activities, and facilities to support the campus population, such as parking, student accommodation, student services, and retail.

The new campus is a five-minute walk from the CBD, neighbouring some of Canberra’s key institutions such as the ANU, CSIRO, Australian Defence Force Academy and the Defence and intelligence headquarters.

Upon completion, the UNSW Canberra City campus will welcome students and is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs locally, including opportunities for local businesses including on-site restaurants and cafes.  Learn more about Launch at UNSW Canberra City 

Emma Sparks

Professor Emma Sparks appointed new Dean and Rector of UNSW Canberra

Emma Sparks

It has been great to see our students and staff returning to campus with the resumption of in-person classes this year.  While safety still remains a top priority during these unprecedented times, we are thrilled to have our students and staff back on campus.  We have commenced operations in Building J from the new UNSW Canberra City location at CIT Reid, in anticipation for construction to commence on the new UNSW Canberra City campus.

In January this year, Professor Emma Sparks took up the position as UNSW Canberra’s new Dean and Rector.

Joining from Cranfield University in the UK, Professor Sparks has been recognised as one of the ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering in the UK’ and is the first female to be appointed to the role of Dean and Rector at UNSW Canberra.

Professor Sparks brings 20 years’ experience working across both the higher education and defence sectors. Before joining UNSW Canberra, Emma was the Director of Programme Portfolio Delivery, Deputy Director of Education and Head of the Centre for Systems and Technology Management at Cranfield University

Professor Sparks boasts a wealth of accolades and qualifications that make her the perfect fit for this vital role at UNSW Canberra. These include:

  • Member of the International Council on Systems Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in sports science and osteopathy
  • Masters of Science and PhD in systems engineering for defence
  • Postgraduate certificate in teaching, learning and assessment for higher education.
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK

During her time in the UK at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Fort Halstead, she was responsible for numerous projects looking at all aspects of human protection and performance, helping to develop next-generation soldier systems. Her PhD research on future soldier capability developed a well-established relationship with DST in Adelaide, working on the Australian Soldier Modernisation Program, part of a $35 million package to boost the Army’s combat capability.

Learn more about Professor Emma Sparks