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New data science training centre to benefit Australia’s resources sector

Media release

A new centre designed to bring together relevant research and industry expertise and use data science to transform asset maintenance for Australia’s resources sector has been officially launched at Curtin University.

Professor Sue Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Research Council, the Honourable Steve Irons MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, CTMTDS Director Professor Andrew Rohl, the Honourable Bill Johnston MLA, Minister for Mines and Petroleum, and Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry.

The Australian Research Council Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science (CTMTDS), was launched at a special ceremony last week by the Honourable Steve Irons MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, the Honourable Bill Johnston MLA, Minister for Mines and Petroleum, and Professor Sue Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Research Council.

The Centre is led by Curtin University in partnership with The University of Western Australia, CSIRO and industry partners Alcoa, BHP and Roy Hill, as well as CORE Innovation Hub and the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA).

CTMTDS Director Professor Andrew Rohl said the Centre is a partnership of industry, universities and government that uses data science to transform maintenance and its workforce.

“By fostering closer partnerships with researchers and industries, we hope to eliminate manual, repetitive transactional work by developing models to enable people to make better complex decisions, provide training for industry to improve maintenance productivity and create more industry-ready professionals for the resources sector,” Professor Rohl said.

“The team in the new Centre has expertise in engineering, computer science, mathematics and statistics, while our industry partners bring decades of practical experience and industrial knowledge.

“We are delighted to be officially launching our new Centre, which will be instrumental in creating significant improvements in the data science field, positively impacting the nation’s resource sector as a whole.”

MRIWA Chief Executive Officer Nicole Roocke said the Centre harnesses the collective strengths of government, research and industry with the aim of solving the maintenance challenges of the mining sector.

“Individuals are at the heart of maintenance work and the research underway in the Centre will enable workers to do their jobs more effectively and safely in an increasingly complex environment,” Ms Roocke said.

Alcoa Vice President Continuous Improvement, Eugenio Azevedo, said the ARC offered a unique opportunity for resources companies to meet the needs of their future workforce.

“Our support for the Centre is strongly aligned with Alcoa’s strategic goals of improving safety and reducing maintenance costs,” Mr Azevedo said.

“The ARC will play a key role in delivering the next generation of data science products to help improve productivity and asset reliability.”

The ARC, along with industry partners, are providing funding for 12 PhD scholarships to support research that enables the transformation of maintenance through the use of data science. Six scholarships were awarded in 2019 and a further six scholarships will be awarded in 2020.

In 2018, Curtin University was awarded $3.9 million in ARC funding over five years for the establishment of the Centre with subsequent contributions from partners lifting funding for the Centre to about $9 million.

Further information on the CTMTDS Centre can be found online here.