The federal government has committed $50 million to a joint defence research commercialisation initiative by the University of Adelaide and University of NSW to build a new trust-based cross-sector culture founded on shared risk, shared problem solving, shared success, and a shared sense of strategic urgency.
Dubbed Defence Trailblazer: Concept to Sovereign Capability (CSC), the commonwealth’s contribution will be matched by $50 million from the universities and $10 million from the CSIRO, plus an additional $140 million by more than 50 Australian industry partners.
The universities believe the CSC will have a net economic benefit of $1.5 billion to the economy by 2032, and will support 2,500 full-time equivalent jobs by 2026. They say industry and academia will support Defence’s pull-through of leading-edge capabilities – including dual-use technologies – to sustain the ability of the ADF to defend national security interests.
Priority areas will include quantum materials, technologies, and computing; defensive hypersonics and countermeasures; information warfare and advanced cyber technologies; robotics, autonomous systems and AI (RAS-AI); and defence space technologies.
“The Defence Trailblazer will transform the nature of the relationship between the academic sector, defence industry and the Department of Defence, compelling universities to pivot outwards towards entrepreneurial and commercial outcomes-driven collaboration,” Ms Christine Zeitz, CSC Chair Designate and General Manager Asia Pacific for Northrop Grumman said in a release. “Our policies, processes, services, workforce incentives and rewards will be realigned to this new approach.
“CSC will address the pressing requirement for a strategic response from industry and academia to the strategic threat environment. It is imperative that we adopt new approaches, to drive research translation and sovereign manufacturing as key industry inputs to defence capability.”
MAJGEN Susan Coyle, the ADF’s Head of Information Warfare added, “The Defence Trailblazer: Concept to Sovereign Capability program signals the start of a closer relationship between Defence, research organisations and defence industry that will see Australia’s sovereign defence capability significantly strengthened.
“Mutually reinforcing this relationship is the key to accelerating the translation of research into commercialised and deployable Australian Defence Force capabilities,” she added. “New technology developed under CSC will sustain the Australian Defence Force’s ability to defend national security interests in a highly volatile geo-strategic environment.”