Wollongong University researchers in Australia have received $1.3m in funding to undertake research in a bid to improve safety at Newcastle Port.

The five-year study, funded by the Australian Research Council and Newcastle and Port Kembla Port, will focus on innovation management to help port operators cope with the extra pressure.

Project leader and professor of the Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research Tim Coltman said the research will develop a “better and safer” system to manage the interface of ships in port waters.

“We are developing and testing a model of technology and innovation management in high-risk contexts where precaution often trumps innovation,” Coltman said.

“We will examine the decision models at each stage in the innovation process, and test the approach using data collected with the port corporations and a global survey of port executives,” he added.