The funding is part of a joint initiative between Australia's Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) and the UK's Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) to discover innovative joining technologies that address the challenging demands of integrating advanced materials into existing or planned military platforms and technologies.
Initial funding of up to $900,000 is available as part of the Australian government's Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) through the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence (SBIRD) program, with a focus on a number of key areas, including:
- New adhesives to improve the longevity of body armour;
- New methods for producing graded materials; or
- Advanced bonding processes for integrating new joining techniques into existing structures and equipment.
A variety of materials are within the scope of the program, including joining combinations of composites, metals, ceramics and polymers, supporting the integration of above mentioned applications.
The focus of the collaboration is to promote innovative joining solutions, which will provide enhanced capability through improved performance and increased operational durability.
The SBIRD program supports SMEs work on research projects aligned with key defence priorities through the NGTF. SBIRD projects may relate to specific challenges identified by Defence, or have a broader scope across an emerging technology field with the potential for disruptive innovation and capability improvement.
SBIRD is a merit-based program with two direct phases:
- Stage 1: Specific challenges will be identified for each round, addressing a future Defence problem. Initial funding will allow research to be undertaken to assess the feasibility of the idea.
- Stage 2: Further funding will be provided for research into testing the idea against the application (potentially proof of concept). Depending on the status of the technology, an invited proposal for stage two might be taken up within SBIRD as a research-based project, or taken up by the Defence Innovation Hub for maturation support and accelerated commercialisation.
Applications for the advanced materials collaboration program open on 28 November 2018 and close 1 February 2019. Both Australian and UK proposals must be submitted through DASA here.