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New round of grants open for SA industry and researchers

The Defence Innovation Partnership has confirmed it will be accepting applications for grants as part of its Activator Fund.

The Defence Innovation Partnership has confirmed it will be accepting applications for grants as part of its Activator Fund.

A total of $2.4 million will be available to South Australian industry and researchers, with the Activator fund launched in 2023 to expedite the delivery of technology into the hands of Australia’s warfighters.

According to the Defence Innovation Partnership – a collaborative initiative between Defence SA, Defence Science and Technology Group, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, and the University of South Australia – this round of funds will cover the topics “understanding and countering influence” and “scalable distributed active sensing and sensemaking systems: Enable early warning and increased situational awareness for chemical hazards”.


Applications are scheduled to open on 25 June 2024 and close on 5 August 2024.

Proposals led by South Australian university and industry, with national, international and Defence partners will be invited to participate.

The partnership will be hosting information sessions on both of the topic areas for project partners to learn more about the process, with an information session on understanding and countering influence on Friday, 21 June, 1pm, and an information session on scalable distributed active sensing and sensemaking systems on Friday. 28 June, 10am.

Matt Opie, Defence SA chief executive, outlined that the themes matched the priorities laid out in the Defence Strategic Review and National Defence Strategy.

“The current geopolitical environment is presenting us with never-before-seen challenges which, in turn, requires innovation and new ways of doing things,” Opie said.

“Emerging threats and the need for enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and the need to ensure we protect both our own Australian Defence Force and critical infrastructure as well as the regional security of our Indo-Pacific neighbours are central to this round of projects.

“The project themes and challenge statements have been carefully selected in close collaboration with Defence to ensure we are using our research expertise to address current challenges for our Defence Force.”

In January, South Australian Deputy Premier and then-Minister for Defence and Space Industries Susan Close announced a $1.6 million investment by the South Australian government to enhance the Royal Australian Navy’s undersea surveillance capability.

The research project, titled “Enhancing the RAN’s Undersea Surveillance Minimum Viable Capability”, is designed to improve operational performance by increasing the accuracy and range of automatic detection, tracking, and localisation of undersea threats.

The South Australian government selected Defence software firm Acacia Systems to lead the project funded through the Defence Innovation Partnership’s Activator Fund and run in collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG).

Close said, “The Activator Fund was established to support larger-scale, higher technology readiness level projects which are very closely aligned to Defence’s priorities, and we have seen that in this project led by Acacia.”

Undersea surveillance operates in challenging ocean environments and with an increasing number of advanced undersea vessels in operation, it’s imperative that Australia’s Navy has the best possible systems in place.

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