Ford will expand its collaboration with Australian universities as part of a commitment to developing a world-class system of external alliances, programs and practices in Australia and Asia. The company has appointed senior Ford Technical Engineer, Richard Taube, as Ford Australia’s Manager for University Programs.
Ford’s vision is to expand its research presence in Australia and to grow alliances with the most relevant and technically capable universities. Ford’s US-based Chief Technical Officer and Vice President, Ford Research and Innovation, Paul Mascarenas, has championed the university collaboration program in Australia.
Mascarenas, who leads Ford’s worldwide research organisation and overseas the development and implementation of the company’s technology strategy, said such collaborations were an important plank in supporting young talent coming through the tertiary education system.
Ford already has an established history of working with Australian universities, including the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and The Australian National University in Canberra.
Five major Ford-funded university research projects are already in progress and the company plans to increase this further in an effort to drive new vehicle efficiencies and deliver advanced technologies that will benefit customers.
Ford is currently working with universities on programs involving powertrain research and impacts on greenhouse gases as well as investigating the application of lightweight materials and advanced safety technologies in vehicles.
Taube said Ford in Australia was in a position to develop both local and global collaborative opportunities and identify relevant technical areas in which Australian universities are world class. As part of Taube’s brief, he will work with similar colleagues around the globe to identify opportunities.
Global universities with existing relationships with Ford are:
- University of Michigan
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Stanford University
- Northwestern University
- RWTH, Aachen University, Germany
- Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
- Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China
- Chongqing University, China
- University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China
- Beijing Institute of Technology, China
- Tsinghua University, China
- Nottingham University, UK
- Loughborough University, UK
Ford Australia has advanced Design Centre and Product Development facilities, which includes an 80 hectare proving ground at the You Yangs, at Lara near Geelong.
The company has had an alliance with the University of Melbourne through its Advanced Centre for Automotive Research and Testing (ACART) at the You Yangs Proving Ground since 2006. ACART has facilities at both the Proving Ground and the University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus. ACART provides the local automotive and transport industries with state-of-the-art infrastructure and highly skilled personnel for automotive research and testing.
The Design Centre and Ford’s Australian product development team were responsible for the Ranger pickup, a global Ford vehicle that is now sold in more than 180 countries, as well as the Ford Figo hatch sold in India.
Ford in Australia is also a regional center of excellence for design and engineering and continues to work with regional product teams in India and China as well as throughout Ford’s global operations.