PARIS — Flinders University, based in Adelaide, South Australia, and four top French engineering schools signed a cooperation agreement on research tied to Australia's Future Submarine Program, the five academic partners said Tuesday. 

"Flinders University and four of France's leading graduate schools of engineering will today enter into an academic and research cooperation agreement relating to Australia's Future Submarine Program," the institutes said in a joint statement.

French universities ENSTA ParisTech, École Centrale de Nantes, CentraleSupélec and École Polytechnique along with Flinders signed a memorandum of understanding, which creates a "group of scientific interest."

The MoU seeks "to foster joint research projects, student and staff exchanges, and a new wave of Australian-French innovation and entrepreneurial projects related to the Future Submarine Program to be centered in Adelaide," the universities said.

South Australia’s minister for higher education and skills, Susan Close, and DCNS general manager on the Australian submarine program, Marie-Pierre de Bailliencourt, attended the signing, a further step in cooperation between Canberra and Paris.

"The establishment of this consortium with Flinders University will foster an exchange of knowledge between Australia and France in relation to this project, and harness some of the world’s best research minds to ensure DCNS’s vessels set the standard for technological innovation," the partners said.

DCNS is prime contractor on the A$50 billion (US $37 billion) submarine program, which seeks to design, develop and build 12 Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A diesel-electric boats. The submarines will be built at the ASC shipyard in Adelaide.