It is imperative that Australian defence primes step up efforts to develop more effective models to engage with academia in a much more open way, according to BAE Systems Australia CEO Glynn Phillips.
During a discussion with Defence Connect, Phillips also urged the defence manufacturing sector to devise initiatives to encourage university researchers to work more productively with each other.
"One good example we've done recently is our Joint Open Innovation Network, which we've launched with a number of universities in South Australia," Phillips continued.
"[This] will create a bit of an innovation hub where industry and academia will come together to work on specific projects that are driven by defence capability needs."
He said at times universities seemed to be chasing the same research dollar, "so I think there's a recognition there by creating that facility, and we'll invest over $10 million in that over the next few years".
The hub, Phillips said, would aim to become an incubator for good ideas to help generate defence capability, but also facilitate future career paths for people looking for a career in defence and particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.
He said BAE Systems Australia had committed to support the hub by sponsoring internships and graduates, as well as assisting in the launch of a raft of post-graduate schemes.
"[We need] to make sure that we stay close with academia and just work in a far more open way, but also [can get] academia to work with each other," Phillips explained.
He recalled BAE Systems’ long record in working with academia, “and also with branches such as Defence Science and the Technology Group".
"We've had a long history where we've jointly developed technology or [DST Group] developed the technology to a certain maturity level and then BAE Systems [have] just taken it on and taken it to the market," Phillips added, citing the JORN over-the-horizon radar and the Nulka active missile decoy as key examples.