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Defence funds $1.6m in tech research projects

The federal government has awarded grants to five Australian-led research groups in a bid to accelerate the development of advanced military technology.

The federal government has awarded grants to five Australian-led research groups in a bid to accelerate the development of advanced military technology.

The Morrison government has issued just under $1.6 million in research funding to five locally-based organisations, in an effort to accelerate the integration of advanced materials into defence platforms.


The projects, which form part of a joint-initiative between Australia and the UK, will be funded by Australia’s Next Generation Technologies Fund under the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence (SBIRD) initiative.

This is in addition to $1.6 million in SBIRD funding already provided to Australian-led research groups.

A total of 14 organisations applied for funding, responding to the four capability challenges listed by Australia and the UK.

The five successful applicants include:

  • Western Sydney University, Imperial College London, Metrologi, UNSW and Airbus Australia Pacific — awarded $348,204 to research the use of nanotechnology in more durable bonded joints; 
  • Qinetiq Australia and RMIT — awarded $349,317 to develop a modelling framework supporting the use of Multi-functional Shape Memory Alloy Tufted Composite Joints (MuST) technology;
  • University of New South Wales, Imperial College London, Advanced Composite Structures Australia — awarded $349,946 to research the use of advanced materials in more effective armour; 
  • RMIT University and BAE Systems— awarded $330,500 to develop more effective metal-to-composite hybrid joints through the use of advanced materials; and 
  • University of Adelaide, Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL – France) and Materials Science Institute — awarded $209,510 to develop improved means of examining areas where adhesives have been used in ageing military platforms.  

“Joint research such as this not only strengthens our bilateral defence relationship but provides support and opportunities to each country’s respective defence industries to overcome the capability challenges we face,” Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said.


“Our aim is to give the men and women of both defence forces a competitive advantage, and this program will be a further important step in achieving that aim.”

Minister Price noted the importance of industry partners for both Australia and the UK’s defence forces.  

“Through initiatives such as this, the Morrison government is committed to providing the best capability possible to the men and women who serve our nation,” she added.

“Australia’s academics and small business sector have a wealth of talent and innovative expertise and the Next Generation Technologies Fund program is designed to draw out the best ideas to support our Defence capability.”

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, supported by the Materials for Strategic Advance Program, is leading the initiative in the UK.

The competition for projects was managed by the UK's Defence and Security Accelerator and funded co-operatively by both nations.

[Related: WA government announces new funding round for collaborative defence research projects]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

Defence funds $1.6m in tech research projects
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