South Australia's Flinders University has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a consortium of France's major graduate engineering schools to foster Australia's $50bn future submarine programme.

The consortium comprises ENSTA ParisTech, École Centrale de Nantes, CentraleSupélec and École Polytechnique.

French shipbuilder DCNS has been appointed as the government’s design partner for the submarine project.

The agreement will encourage joint research projects, student and staff exchanges, as well as a new wave of Australian-French innovation, in addition to entrepreneurial projects related to the Future Submarine Programme.

Flinders University Research deputy vice-chancellor Robert Saint said: “This MoU signed with our new French partner institutions recognises the high regard in which Flinders’ capability in the areas of defence and maritime research is held.

“The agreement will enhance our defence-related endeavours, and contribute to South Australia and Australia’s economic transformation.”

The programme will be centred in Adelaide, South Australia, and the selected design will be developed at the ASC shipyard, Port Adelaide.

"The agreement will enhance Flinders University’s defence-related endeavours, and contribute to South Australia and Australia’s economic transformation."

The MoU develops a consortium comprising the five institutions, and further strengthens the friendship between France and Australia.

French consortium stated: “The establishment of this consortium with Flinders University will foster an exchange of knowledge between Australia and France in relation to this project, and harness some of the world’s best research minds to ensure DCNS’s vessels set the standard for technological innovation.”

According to Saint, the MoU will support an exchange of research and technical expertise that will boost the University’s maritime-related programmes.

Image: Flinders University signs agreement France’s major graduate schools to develop Australia’s future submarine programme. Photo: courtesy of Flinders University.