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With their finger on the pulse in the university and defence sectors, The Defence Science Institute’s (DSI) Liaison Managers act as the perfect conduits to collaboration between industry and academia.

RMIT University’s Senior Manager of Research Partnerships, Research and Innovation and DSI Liaison Manager Mr Quin Chang talks about his journey into the field of education and defence.

Q1) Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m currently the Senior Manager of Research Partnerships at RMIT University and I also serve as a Director on the Board of Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia Ltd. I have a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from RMIT University, a Diploma of Project Management and I am a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to moving into the higher education sector, I spent more than 10 years working in various positions in the automotive industry both in Australia and Japan, at Toyota Motor Corporation, Ford Motor Company Australia and Active Plastics Industries.

Q2) What drew you to DSI?

Having lived through the highs, lows and eventual closure of Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry, I witnessed first-hand Victoria’s world-class manufacturing capabilities and its highly-skilled, innovative workforce.

I believe publicly funded research organisations such as universities need to engage with private industry to remain globally competitive and maintain sovereign viability. Never before has innovation occurred at such a rapid pace, and never again will it be this slow. If our goal as a nation is to maintain or indeed exceed our current trajectory, bright minds from both industry and academia need to come together, resources need to be pooled, and trust needs to be built or we risk the alternative, which is falling behind.  

The facilitation of fruitful collaborations is what makes DSI’s work so important and what drew me to the role of Liaison Manager that I so enjoy. I am able to bring my industry experience and perspective to RMIT’s research community and broker defence industry partnerships and collaborations for the university.

Q3) What are some of the research capabilities highlighted by your university?

This is always a difficult question for RMIT University as we have such a wide and diverse range of defence research capabilities, that I believe are absolutely best in country, if not world-class.

RMIT has one of the largest additive manufacturing research facilities in the country and leads the way in applied design and advanced manufacturing research. This is particularly relevant to defence in the areas of armour protection and in situ repair and sustainment.

Our aerospace school is another national leader with particular strengths in UAV (drone) research, human machine interface and aerostructure fatigue modelling. One project that stood out in my mind was a study on aircraft turbulence mitigation, which was inspired by the flight behaviour of a hovering predatory kestrel bird and focussed on how that could be potentially translated into smoother flights during turbulent weather.

Q4) What mark do you hope to leave during your time as a DSI Liaison Manager?

I hope that if nothing else, I have successfully brought two distant worlds a little closer together.

DSI aims to establish connections between industry and academia and encourages researchers who may not have had any experience with the defence sector to make contact to leverage the many grant and support options available to advance research.

To learn more about research collaboration projects and other operations facilitated by DSI, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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