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Defence commits to research to enhance fitness of Aussie troops

Eight Australian universities will conduct additional research into human performance aimed at enhancing warfighter capability, Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has confirmed. 

Defence received 116 university research proposals to its open call in March this year. Nine studies were selected, ranging from cognitive augmentation, nutrition and gut health to the use of augmented reality, team training and resilience.  

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The successful universities are Flinders University, La Trobe University, Macquarie University, University of NSW, University of Queensland, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria University and Western Sydney University.   

The 10th study by Victoria University and The University of Melbourne on assistive technologies, to be funded by Diggerworks, was selected from 15 applications, following a separate HPRnet open call. 

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the research studies will be carried out through the Human Performance Research network (HPRnet), managed by Defence Science and Technology (DST) under the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund.

“The physical and cognitive performance and resilience of the warfighter is critical to Australian Defence Force capability, and continuing research is the building block for achieving high levels of performance. These new four-year studies will enable HPRnet to benefit warfighters in all three services,” Minister Price said.

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This brings the total number of Australian Universities engaged in the HPRnet projects to 14.

Minister Price congratulated the successful universities, saying, “I congratulate the successful universities and look forward to the results of their research into enhancing human performance.”   

The Next Generation Technologies Fund, managed by DST, is a new government initiative introduced with the Defence Industry Policy Statement in 2016. Together with the Defence Innovation Hub and the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, these three policies form the integrated Defence innovation system.

With an investment of $730 million over the decade to June 2026, the Next Generation Technologies Fund is a forward-looking program focusing on research and development in emerging and future technologies for the “future Defence force after next”.

The Next Generation Technologies Fund is focused on the following nine priority areas as determined by the Defence White Paper 2016:

  • Integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
  • Space capabilities
  • Enhanced human performance
  • Medical countermeasure products
  • Multidisciplinary material sciences
  • Quantum technologies
  • Trusted autonomous systems
  • Cyber
  • Advanced sensors, hypersonics and directed energy capabilities

“In addition to providing critical Defence capability, the AUSMURI program will help to grow local skills and expertise in key areas,” Minister Price said.

Further information regarding the Next Generation Technologies Fund is available here

Defence commits to research to enhance fitness of Aussie troops
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