The Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced the funding, which has been allocated under the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund, and said it is aimed at engaging industry and academia to research priority areas identified in the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement.
"The Next Generation Technologies Fund allows us to draw on the expertise in Australian universities to initiate research into emerging technologies of interest to Defence," Minister Pyne said.
"There have been 59 successful projects to date and each will receive an average of $100,000 to fund their proposals and delivery over the next 12 months."
Investment in the priority areas include:
- trusted autonomous systems – $2 million
- multidisciplinary material sciences – $960,000
- cyber security – $710,000
- advanced sensors and directed energy capabilities – $780,000
- quantum technologies – $490,000
- enhanced human performance – $390,000
- space capabilities – $186,000
428 project proposals were put forward by 31 universities across the nation.
Victorian university researchers from Deakin, La Trobe, Melbourne, Monash and RMIT will undertake 18 projects with a total funding of $1.7 million.
14 projects will be undertaken by researchers at universities in South Australia – University of Adelaide, Flinders and UniSA valued at $1.3 million.
Researchers at six universities in NSW from Macquarie, Newcastle, Wollongong, Sydney, Western Sydney and UNSW will undertake 10 projects with a value of $965,000.
Australian National University and ADFA in Canberra will receive $720,000 to undertake research on eight projects, while Queensland researchers at Griffith University, University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology will undertake five projects valued at $496,000.
Edith Cowan and Curtin University researchers in Western Australia will work on three projects with a funding of $283,000, while the University of Tasmania has been allocated $97,000 to work on one project in enhanced human performance.
Minister Pyne said the allocation of projects was given based on the capabilities of the universities, as well as the quality of their proposals.
"These early research projects will provide a strong foundation to build future game-changing capabilities for the Australian Defence Force," he said.
"The new defence project funding will lift the level of collaboration between Defence and academia, it will stimulate innovation and is strongly aligned with the National Innovation and Science Agenda."
The Next Generation Technologies Fund complements the Defence Innovation Hub as the two core initiatives of the new Defence Innovation System outlined in the government’s Defence Industry Policy Statement.