Australia and UK partner to fast-track cutting edge capabilities

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The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

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Ben Spencer (Minister Price’s office): + 61 412 754 310
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16 February 2021

The Morrison Government has given research funding to five Australian-led groups to develop technology that will accelerate the integration of advanced materials into military platforms and give our Defence personnel a competitive advantage.

The projects are part of a program run jointly by Australia and the United Kingdom.

They will be funded by Australia’s Next Generation Technologies Fund under the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence (SBIRD) initiative.

Australian-led projects have already received $1.6 million in SBIRD funding.

Fourteen Australian academic and industry groups answered the joint Australia and UK call for responses to four challenges aimed at using innovative technologies to speed up advanced materials integration.

Advanced materials are those with properties that are engineered to make them superior to conventional materials, including ceramics, high value-added metals, electronic materials and composites.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the joint research initiatives demonstrated the close practical and technical cooperation between defence industry and universities across Australia and the UK.

“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 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.”

The five winning Australian proposals were from:

• Western Sydney University, Imperial College London, Metrologi Pty Ltd, UNSW and Airbus Australia Pacific, awarded $348,204 to research the use of nanotechnology in more durable bonded joints; 

• Qinetiq Australia Pty Ltd 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 Pty Ltd, awarded $349,946 to research the use of advanced materials in more effective armour; 

• RMIT University 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 aging military platforms.  

“Academic and industry partners are vitally important to both defence forces,” Minister Price said.

“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.

“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.”

In the UK, participation is being led by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and supported by the Materials for Strategic Advance Program.

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

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