UNSW showcases defence skills to industry


Air Vice Marshal Cath Roberts, AM, CSC, newly appointed as the RAAF’s inaugural Head of Air Force Capability, will share her insights on Australian defence R&D and innovation at the UNSW Sydney’s latest defence research showcase on 11 October. This follows the Pacific 2019 International Maritime Exposition at the ICC.

“UNSW delivers real research impact right across the emerging technology areas of direct interest to Defence,” says Professor Brian Boyle, UNSW’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Enterprise.

“We bring together industry and university research teams from around the world with Defence subject matter experts to tackle wicked problems and create globally disruptive, new Australian industry capabilities.”

The ‘Defence R&D – An Instrument of National Power’ showcase event will be held in UNSW’s Leighton Hall at its Kensington Campus in Sydney on Friday 11 October from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

The showcase will exhibit research by some 40 teams from across UNSW, whose engineering school is now the largest and longest standing faculty in Australia. After a keynote by Professor Brian Boyle, senior defence, industry and technology leaders – including AVM Roberts; Mr Brad Yelland, Chief Technology Officer of BAE Systems Australia Limited; Ms Kerry Lunney, Chief Engineer of Thales Australia; and Vice Admiral Paul Maddison (Ret’d), Director of UNSW’s Defence Research Institute – will share their insights on defence R&D and emerging technology in a short panel discussion. Attendees are encouraged to engage with UNSW research teams and technology specialists afterwards.

Designed to partner researchers with industry, it is for companies of all sizes. UNSW has vast experience in preparing applications for research grants and other funding to help smart but cashpoor SMEs undertake and then commercialise R&D. There is $1.3 billion available through the Defence Innovation Hub and Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) alone for this purpose. Plus, there are other grants available through AusIndustry’s Accelerating Commercialisation and Innovation Connection programs, for example.

Access to funding will help Australian companies undertake targeted R&D with UNSW in support of the ADF and develop their own nationally and globally competitive edge, says Professor Ian Gibson, Associate Dean, Industry and Innovation of UNSW Engineering. “We can help form links with high technology companies and researchers overseas – we’ve been doing this successfully for years,” he says.

UNSW supports Australian, US and European defence programs. Recently, it partnered with DST to design and launch the Buccaneer 1 ‘cube-sat’. It has worked with the RAAF, US Air Force and DST on Space Situational Awareness (SSA), plus the US and Australian Armies on trusted autonomous systems. Companies such as Lockheed Martin and GE Aerospace have benefitted from the university’s expertise on advanced composites and submarine designer Naval Group from UNSW’s expertise in acoustic material.

In addition, it has worked with Thales Australia on optical sonar technologies; the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research on ferroelectric materials for sonar; Leidos and 3M on bio-threat response; and with non-defence partners on technologies as varied as hypersonics, artificial intelligence (AI), photovoltaics, and microwave and millimetre wave devices for mobile and satellite communications.

“Defence industry policy is designed to hone the ADF’s operational edge while strengthening its essential high-technology industry base,” says Vice Admiral Maddison (Ret’d).

“That edge is the product of targeted R&D and then commercialisation by teams from industry, academia and defence. We understand that R&D is expensive, especially for SMEs, but UNSW can help with access to funding, and by making every research dollar count. We can do R&D efficiently, and target it on the needs of both ADF end-users and industry partners to create new products and capabilities.”

This 2019 UNSW Defence Showcase follows the inaugural UNSW Defence Showcase held in October 2018 at Spotless Stadium in Sydney’s Olympic Park.

To register for the Defence Showcase, please visit: https://unsw.to/defenceshowcase2019

The Showcase is organised by Knowledge Exchange, part of the UNSW Division of Enterprise – www.knowledgeexchange.unsw.edu.au.

Learn more about the UNSW Defence Research Institute here: https://dri.unsw.edu.au