Western Sydney University (WSU), in collaboration with IFIP, the International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS) and New South Wales Space Research Network (SRN), organised one day workshop “Stop 3 of the NSW Space Research Series” on 12 April 2023. From space science perspective the event was focused on Earth Observation and its uses, including climate change, decarbonisation, agri-futures, natural disaster response, conservation, and other environmental monitoring. From technology perspective, the event focused on interactive systems for space industry. The event coincided with the UN International Day of Human Space Flight, which celebrates around the Globe each year “the beginning of the space era for mankind, reaffirming the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals and increasing the well-being of states and peoples, as well as ensuring the realization of their aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.” 

The workshop, organised by Associate Professor Alexie Papanicolaou, WSU representative on NSW SRN, was attended by more than 60 participants from the partner universities (both academics and business development managers in space, intelligence and defence), government agencies and industry start-ups, and small technology companies. These included Michael Clark (Chairman of the Board, NSW Space Research Network), Prof Stefan Williams (Co-Director, NSW Space Research Network), Thomas Mueller (Space Coordinator, German-Australian Chamber of Industry & Commerce, and expert in Energy and Space), Matthias Seifert (Airbus), Sophie Poisel (Head, Lang Walker Family Academy at Powerhouse Parramatta), Saksham Yadav (DeepNeural AI), Briony Sturgess (Senior Manager, Science & Research Policy, NSW Government), Dr Sarah Reeves (Curator, Sydney Observatory, NSW Government), Dr Matt van Breugel (CEO of Redback Systems, an Australian spin out company for production of optical systems from Macquarie University and CSIRO), Paul Hepplewhite (Space Investment Partnerships, NSW Government), Mellodee Anvia (Assistant Director – Space Technology Uplift, Australian Space Agency) and Joel Thevarajah (Innovation Manager, ScaleFacilitation.com), as well as researchers from the schools and institutes in the STEM Cluster at Western Sydney University,  and researchers from the universities in NSW. 

The list of workshop attendees had also several IFIP board members, including Anthony Wong (President of IFIP), Mike Hinchey (IFIP Past President) and Jacques Sakarovitch (Vice President of IFIP).

The morning session, held at Penrith Observatory in WSU, included keynote on designing perfect interactive systems with and for imperfect people by Professor Philippe Palanque – Chair of Computer Science and Head of the Department of Reliability Systems and Software at the University Toulouse 3 “Paul Sabatier”, and Head of the Interactive Critical Systems group at the Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT). Philippe is also Chair of IFIP Technical Assembly and IFIP Councillor, and member of IFIP Executive Committee. The morning session included also presentations from Mellodee Anvia, Michael Clark and Prof Stefan Williams and researchers from partner universities.

Dr Nicholas Tothill, Senior Lecturer in Computational Imaging, Visual Science & Computational Astrophysics at Western Sydney University, guided IFIP Board members through Penrith Observatory.
Professor Philippe Palanque, just introduced by Associate Professor Alexie Papanicolaou (sitting at the front row)
Professor Philippe Palanque delivers his keynote on designing perfect interactive systems with and for imperfect people.
Prof Simeon Simoff (Pro Vice-Chancellor Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and ACS IFIP TC 12 representative), Sree Chandra (WSU Workshop manager) and Anthony Wong (IFIP President) at Penrith Observatory.

The afternoon session, held in the International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS) at Western Sydney University. The session included interactive brain-storming, focused on two themes: Education and research training to address the needs of Australian space sector, and Research and space industry capability development for Earth observation, focussed on utilisation of Earth observation data. As hosts, ICNS researchers organised an exhibition, which demonstrated some of the systems they have developed, including their event-based neuromorphic camera, which operates on the International Space Station, systems that model human auditory system with neuromorphic hardware and other research and development of technologies that mimic biological brains and sensory organs, and can help to find solutions for neurological damage or disease.

ICNS researchers demonstrate developed solutions at the ICNS premises in Penrith.


Credit goes to Associate Professor Alexie Papanicolaou for leading the organisation of the workshop, Western Sydney University Astrophysics group and ICNS team for their hospitality. Special acknowledgement for the wonderful help from Sree Chandra, Andrew Leigh, and Dr Ain De Horta. Last, but not least, and most grateful to our PhD candidates, who volunteered their time to guide participants through the campuses between the sessions and provided overall help to the visitors.