$2.4 million boost for NSW Defence Innovation Network

| November 7, 2018

New South Wales’ Minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair has officially launched the state’s Defence Innovation Network (DIN), a $5 million NSW Government-funded initiative to increase collaboration between the State’s defence industry and the excellent research and development capabilities of NSW universities.

“R&D is a key driver of innovation, and economic and defence benefits will flow to NSW and Australia thanks to the Defence Innovation Network bringing together our best researchers and our defence industry.

“Even more important are the lives of the men and women serving in the Australian Defence Force. Through the creation of new capabilities, the NSW Government and its DIN partners are helping to ensure the safety of our defence personnel on the battlefield,” Mr Blair said.

Since first announcing the establishment of the DIN in October 2017, the NSW Government has invested $2.6 million through the Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer to support its creation. The Commonwealth’s Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group) and seven NSW universities have also provided investment and funding support.

“I’m pleased to announce today that another $2.4 million has been allocated to continue the NSW Government’s support for this vital initiative,” Minister Blair said.

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said the DIN had already provided $650,000 in project funding to solve problems in areas such as drone detection and the use of artificial intelligence systems for mine detection.

“NSW universities have diverse capabilities in defence-related technologies including artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, aerospace, radar, sensors, signal processing, material sciences, quantum sensors and advanced human performance.

“These capabilities provide excellent opportunities for NSW defence businesses to accelerate their R&D and deliver innovative defence technologies to the ADF and our allies,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.

PhD projects to support NSW Defence innovation

A new partnership with the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s (AMSI) APR.Intern program will see NSW’s Defence Innovation Network invest $230,000 to place 30 specialist PhDs in defence over three years.

Co-funded under APR.Intern’s National Research Internship Program (NRIP), the internships will match PhDs to NSW defence companies to develop skills and deliver innovative technology.

As well as equipping PhDs to engage with commercial research, AMSI Director Professor Geoff Prince said the placements would transform NSW university engagement with defence innovation.

“These placements provide a powerful platform for NSW universities to complement specialist PhD training with industry experience and essential soft skills, while delivering real defence innovation solutions,” said Professor Prince.

NSW Minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair said the PhD internships would enhance the Defence Innovation Network’s capacity to deliver high-level STEM skills to the defence industry.

“This partnership with AMSI is a fantastic opportunity to help our defence companies acquire the skills and expertise they need to deliver next-generation defence solutions,” Mr Blair said.

“This latest investment will add to 14 defence-focused PhD projects already being hosted across the seven university members of the Defence Innovation Network.

“Having our best university brains working together with our defence companies will help develop new technologies and protect our armed forces in a range of key areas like autonomous systems, sensors, aerospace, artificial intelligence and more.”

The NSW Government has committed $5 million to the Defence Innovation Network and the Commonwealth’s Defence Science and Technology Group and the NSW university partners are also providing investment and funding support.

These internships will contribute to placements to be delivered by APR.Intern under the Australian Government’s $28.2 million Supporting more women in STEM careers: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI)—National Research Internship Program (NRIP).

Picture © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence