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Awarding of inaugural Defence Innovation Scholarship

27 February 2013
Media Release
A portrait of Luke Vandewater, recipient of the inaugural Defence Innovation Scholarship
Luke Vandewater, recipient of the inaugural Defence Innovation Scholarship

The inaugural $10,000 Aerospace Australia Defence Innovation Scholarship has been awarded to budding scientist and engineer Luke Vandewater of Swinburne University.

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon congratulated Mr Vandewater on receiving the scholarship after completing the Industry Experience Placement program at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).

“Luke Vandewater represents the enormous talent that resides amongst Australia’s young scientists and engineers,” Mr Snowdon said.

At DSTO Mr Vandewater was working on a project to harvest vibrational energy from mechanical structures, such as the airframe of an aircraft in flight, and using it to power sensors that monitor the health of aircraft structures.

“Structural health monitoring using such energy harvesting techniques offers Defence the potential to reduce maintenance costs and improve the reliability and availability of aircraft for operational use,” Mr Snowdon said.

“This scholarship also demonstrates the importance of DSTO’s Industry Experience Placement program which enables young undergraduates to work on applied research projects,” he said.

“This kind of program gives young scientists such as Mr Vandewater the opportunity to investigate challenging real-world problems and achieve outstanding results.

“I have no doubt that this scholarship will set him on the path to an impressive career in the aerospace industry. I also encourage other science undergraduates to seek out such opportunities at DSTO.”

For Mr Vandewater, the scholarship comes as a great surprise and honour.

“The 12-month placement at DSTO has afforded me a fantastic opportunity to apply my academic skills in the real world and have an impact on a work program,” he said.

“I am very appreciative of the recognition.”

The $10,000 scholarship provides assistance for the remainder of Mr Vandewater’s studies and opens the door to future work on the energy harvesting project at DSTO.

The scholarship was awarded today by the Chairman of Aerospace Australia Limited Air Marshal Les Fisher, AO, (Ret’d) at the Australian International Air Show and Defence Exposition.



Minister Snowdon’s Office

Lidija Ivanovski
(02) 6277 7820 or 0407108 935


Edwina Callus
(03) 9626 7131 or 0419 984 488

Defence Media Operations

(02) 6127 1999