Law to play crucial role in new ANU space institute

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Law, in any situation, needs to be able to offer a regime that protects from harm but does not stifle innovation.

The ANU College of Law is part of the University’s newly-launched innovation institute, InSpace, that brings together law, technology and science research to advance Australia’s space industry.

ANU Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said the new space institute will have a multidisciplinary approach to expanding the opportunities for Australia to expand its commercial and scientific interests in the space industry.

“The space industry is a rapidly growing area in business and research, and with any emerging industry, comes legal and social challenges,” Professor Schmidt said.

“The new Institute will be the front door to space activities and capabilities across the University, including technology R&D, science missions, space test facilities, commercial space law, and business and finance initiatives relating to space.

It will drive co-investment with industry and government partners and focus on cross-disciplinary projects and initiatives to support Australian space business development.

“ANU has been Australia’s leading astronomy institute for decades, and we’re now looking to combine that scientific expertise with the work we’re doing in physics, computing, quantum mechanics, and law,” Professor Schmidt said.

“The Institute will continue to attract the best and brightest in this field to Canberra.”

Dean of ANU College of Law Professor Sally Wheeler said legal regulation is in a difficult position with technology and innovation, and space is more accessible than envisaged by the international treaty makers 50 years ago.

“Law, in any situation, needs to be able to offer a regime that protects from harm but does not stifle innovation,” Professor Wheeler said.

“To do this when technology is constantly changing and harms and benefits are difficult to calculate is extremely difficult.

“Lawyers and scientists have to be able to talk to each in terms that both can understand in order to shape regulation.”

InSpace will be led by Professor Anna Moore from ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Professor Moore said she will be working closely with colleagues from across the University to develop multidisciplinary approaches to enhancing Australia’s space industry.

“Like all challenges we’re facing now, the solution is never one-sided. That’s why we’ll be working with researchers from the ANU College of Law, research schools of mathematics, physics, earth sciences, computer sciences and our colleagues in public policy and national security research areas,” Professor Moore said.

Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, who launched InSpace at Parliament House, congratulated ANU for the initiative to consolidate and streamline their impressive array of space endeavours.

“InSpace will serve as a bridge between academia and industry, and is designed to drive co-investment between industry and government partners in space projects,” said Minister Andrews.

“It is an exciting time to be involved in space - the Coalition Government invested $41 million in establishing the Australian Space Agency, laying the groundwork to triple Australia’s space economy to $12 billion and create an additional 20,000 jobs by 2030.”


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Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team