The NSW Government will invest $1.25 million in a new university-led network to bolster defence-related research and development activity across the state.
The new Defence Innovation Network (DIN) will bring together leading scientists and engineers from seven of the state’s public universities to focus on areas crucial to Australia’s defence needs.
NSW Minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair said the Network will build on NSW’s extensive defence industry capability and bring to life the next generation of Australian defence technology.
“This Network will act as a broker – one where it can hear the problems facing industry and find the right people in our universities to solve them,” Blair said.
“It’s set to tackle challenges in fields such as trusted autonomous and unmanned systems, signal processing, weapons and communications.
“This initiative is a bold statement to Australian and international defence firms that NSW has the necessary expertise and is a good place to invest.”
The University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of Sydney, the University of Newcastle, the University of Wollongong, Western Sydney University and UNSW Sydney are the founding universities involved in the network.
NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Mary O’Kane said the Defence Innovation Network demonstrates the capacity of our universities to be big problem solvers.
“This will provide an opportunity to tackle important and complex issues,” Professor O’Kane said.
“The Network will also complement two other research networks already established by the Government.”
Defence NSW Director and former senior naval officer, Commodore Peter Scott (Retd), said the establishment of the Network will support innovation, commercialisation and job creation, particularly in our regional communities.
Chairman of Sydney Aerospace and Defence Interest Group (SADIG) Chris Williams welcomed the decision.
“This new collaborative approach between industry and seven universities is applauded and needed in order to meet the ambitious goals in Australian defence for acquisition and sustainment in long term defence projects” Williams said.
“Industry stands ready to support the work of DIN, assisting the network as a broker in identifying problems facing industry both nationally and internationally, and helping develop the industry partnerships with universities to solve them.” he added.
Williams emphasised the significant future role of DIN to access skills and capabilities across the university network, and engage with industry specialists to prototype and commercialise on outputs from dedicated research projects.
“It’s our objective to identify new additional strategic opportunities which can only be tackled on a collaborative basis, to provide feedback to industry members and other stakeholders, including the State and Commonwealth Governments, on the make-up and health of the Aerospace and Defence Industry sectors; to identify key factors and trends affecting it and to help facilitate industry access to available Government support and services.”