Defense

September 5, 2012

AFOSR forging new international collaborations

As part of an ongoing effort to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through international liaison and leadership, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in collaboration with Australian National Fabrication Facility organized a Program Review to explore U.S./Australia basic science collaborations in Materials and Nanotechnology.

“This effort was made possible by joint interagency and international cooperation,” said AFOSR chief scientist, Dr. Thomas Hussey. “We are quite confident that this exchange will lead to new US-Australia collaborations in basic science that would not have occurred otherwise,” he added.

Following AFOSR’s participation at the Inaugural US-Australia S&T Joint Commission Meeting in February 2011 and the ensuing ANFF-AFOSR Joint Workshop held in Australia in July 2011, AFOSR highlighted the quality and relevance of U.S./Australia basic science collaborations.

Based on the research themes identified at the July workshop, the objective of the joint review was to build on existing research and to develop new collaborative basic science ties in materials and nanotechnology between the U.S. Air Force and Australia. The principal organizers of the review were Dr. Sofi Bin-Salamon and Mrs. Rosie Hicks.

This five-day review was an opportunity for U.S. and Australian researchers to present their work and develop scientific partnerships under the over-arching principal theme of sensors with topics in advanced materials, nanoelectronics, photonics, lasers, MEMS devices and power.

The review included tours to Army Research Laboratory sites in Adelphi and Aberdeen as well as a public discussion on “Data-to-Decisions” hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“The U.S. Army Research Laboratory was delighted to host a visit of the Australian researchers in ANFF and anticipate new collaborations to blossom forth from the exchange,” said Dr. Stephen Lee, ARL chief scientist.

The joint event was the result of AFOSR’s collaboration with the ANFF and multiple U.S. government organizations including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Office of the Science Adviser to the Secretary of State, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center, NASA Glenn Research Center, National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. U.S. participants included AFOSR, AFRL/RD, AFRL/RX, OSD, Dept of State/STAS, ARL/SEDD, ARL/WMRD, ARL/CISD, NRL, NAVAIR, NASA-GRC, NIH/NCI, NSF/ENG, NSF/BIO, and DARPA.

The U.S. was well represented by several Senior Executives and high-level individuals including:

  • Dr. Robin Staffin (Director for Basic Science, Office of the Secretary of Defense/ASDR&E)
  • Dr. Thomas Hussey (AFOSR Chief Scientist)
  • Dr. Stephen Lee (ARL Chief Scientist)
  • Dr. Richard Colton (NRL Chemistry Division Superintendent)
  • Dr. William Colglazier (Science Adviser to the Secretary of State)
  • Dr. Woodrow Whitlow (NASA Associate Administrator for Mission Support)

“The workshop provided a great opportunity for the exchange of scientific information on materials and nanotechnology between U.S, government and Australian scientists and S&T leaders. The overlap of interests and quality of the work presented were exceptional,” added Dr. Richard Colton, NRL chemistry division superintendent.

The Australian delegation was comprised of roughly 30 representatives from 17 of the 38 universities in Australia and other organizations including the ANFF, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility. The Australian university participants included the University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, University of Wollongong, University of New South Wales, the University of Adelaide, Macquarie University, University of Western Australia, Deakin University, University of Queensland, La Trobe University, Australian National University, Flinders University, Swinburne University of Technology, and the University of South Australia.

 

High ranking Australian attendees included:

  • The Hon Kim Beazley AC (Ambassador of Australia to the US)
  • Prof Mary O’Kane (Chief Scientist and Engineer of New South Wales)
  • Prof Jim Piper (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Macquarie University)
  • Prof Les Field (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, University of New South Wales)
  • Dr. Cathy Foley (Chief of CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering)

This successful collaboration between AFOSR and ANFF has received positive visibility in both participating countries, particularly Australia:

  • http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/connect-asia/australian-scientists-share-nanotechnology-research-with-us-military/936924
  • http://nanomelbourne.com/news/article/australian-nanotechnology-scientists-to-help-us-defense-force-research-agencies-in-solving-tough-challenges/
  • http://www.aibn.uq.edu.au/us-visit
  • http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/media-releases/ausresearchinusairforce#more-10964
  • http://www.atse.org.au/

According to those in attendance, the meeting was considered a success, and AFOSR was please to accept recognition as the coordinators of such a positive and collaborative event.

“Now that talented and creative individuals, as well as knowledge and expertise, are increasingly spread throughout the world, all countries must collaborate internationally to remain at the cutting edge of science. We applaud AFOSR’s extensive efforts to foster collaborations with premier scientific research organizations in other countries. This worthwhile collaboration with ANFF has been mutually beneficial for both countries,” stated Dr. E. William Colglazier, the Science & Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State.

The ANFF was established in 2007, under the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. ANFF links 19 universities and the CSIRO in eight university-based nodes to provide Australian industry and publicly funded researchers with access to state-of-the-art nanotechnology fabrication facilities. The strength of the ANFF lies in its network of 19 member institutions (comprising half of Australia’s universities and CSIRO) that are its foundation.

AFOSR continues to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through its leadership and management of the Air Force’s basic research program. As a vital component of the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFOSR’s mission is to discover, shape and champion basic science that profoundly impacts the future Air Force.

 




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