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DSTO maritime chief awarded honorary degree

Defence Science and Technology Organisation Maritime Division Chief Janis Cocking's outstanding contribution to the field of maritime engineering has been recognised with an honorary degree from the University of Tasmania at its mid-year graduation ceremony.

The University Council confers honorary degrees on people who are distinguished scholars and have given exemplary service to the Commonwealth, the State or the University. Dr Cocking accepted her degree at the graduation ceremony held at Albert Hall, Launceston on Saturday 23.

"Conferral of the degree of Doctor of Engineering honoris causa is a well-deserved and fitting acknowledgment of Janis Cocking's outstanding contributions to the University and to the State of Tasmania," University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen said.

"Dr Cocking has played a substantial and active role in enhancing the interests, capabilities and international connections of the Australian Maritime College and the University. She has been the champion and major driver behind much of the extensive interaction between DSTO and AMC for many years. Her high-level support has culminated in important, strategic outcomes including Commonwealth Government support for major AMC facility upgrades and collaborative research projects. This has enhanced the reputations of both AMC and the University within the international defence community."

Dr Cocking is an acknowledged international expert in the field of undersea technology and has more than 30 years' experience managing science and technology research projects.

She has a degree in Metallurgy at the University of Melbourne and joined DSTO after graduation, undertaking research into high temperature alloys for hot end gas turbine blades in RAAF aircraft engines.

Following this success, Dr Cocking was posted to the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC where she developed a research program into ceramic thermal barrier coatings. Returning to Australia, she established an Australian research program into ceramic materials and was appointed national leader for an international collaboration between Australia, the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand on ceramic materials.

In 1989, she led the research program on air independent propulsion for submarines and in 1995 she was appointed Director of DSTO's Maritime Program Office. With the team, she undertook a review of the maritime program which resulted in the establishment of the Maritime Platforms Division.

In 1999, Dr Cocking was promoted to Research Leader and developed the Future Submarine Technology Workshops. The results of these workshops helped shape the decisions for the next generation of undersea warfare.

In her current role as DSTO Maritime Division Chief, Dr Cocking has led the scientific and technological support program for the Collins Class submarines and demonstrated how unmanned underwater systems can complement manned submarines in delivering enhanced defence capability.

The honorary degree conferral follows the signing of a five-year Defence Science Partnering Deed between DSTO and the University designed to establish a collaborative alliance for mutually beneficial activities.

The objectives of the partnership are many but include improving mutual access to world-class research infrastructure and programs, developing capabilities and technologies, collaboration in niche areas of expertise and contributing to the promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools and the tertiary sector.

Image: Defence Science and Technology Organisation Maritime Division Chief Dr Janis Cocking and Malcolm Cocking at the graduation ceremony.

Published on: 25 Aug 2014 2:43pm