The State Government has laid the foundation for Western Australia to be at the forefront of cutting-edge science and innovation with the establishment of the Defence Science Centre (DSC).
Launched by Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia, the DSC is a collaboration between the State and Commonwealth governments and WA’s four public universities.
Mr Papalia said by formalising this partnership, defence-related research opportunities for WA researchers can be maximised.
One of the DSC’s key roles will be to act as a matchmaker between universities, government and industry to support security and technology development and capability requirements, with a particular focus on WA’s defence industry.
The University of Western Australia researcher, Professor David Badcock is already working as part of a national research team looking at realising the benefits of augmented reality devices.
The Minister said the project, which seeks to understand risks and identify ways of realising enhanced capabilities through development of a prototype adaptive AR interface, is a prime example of how the DSC will link Western Australian researchers with cutting-edge defence technology.
The DSC will be governed by a board of academic and industry experts, chaired by Russell Potapinski, GM Intelligent and Autonomous Systems, Woodside. The centre will facilitate university-government-industry research and skills exchange via actively cultivating relationships and linkages.
DSC grants will be an important tool in supporting the facilitation of these exchanges and will set the conditions for commercial opportunities in industry, and business development.
The DSC will partner with the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute’s APR.Intern program to increase the number of internship projects undertaken by SMEs in Western Australia’s defence sector. This partnership will see 10 STEM PhD students placed into industry to undertake short-term focused research projects.
This program encourages university and industry collaboration that connects business and other organisations to the vast research expertise in Australia’s universities, and supports Western Australia’s STEM strategy.
Eligible industry partners will receive a subsidy through DSC as well as a 50 per cent Federal Government rebate through APR.Intern’s Supporting more women in STEM careers: Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute – National Research Internship Program (NRIP).
Mr Papalia congratulated all parties involved in the creation of the DCS, including Defence West, the Defence Science Technology Group of the Department of Defence, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and The University of Western Australia.
The establishment of the DSC is a key outcome of the McGowan Government’s WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan.
As stated by Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia:
“We have established the Defence Science Centre to create the right conditions for the development of cutting-edge science and innovation in Western Australia.
“Developing a DSC in WA will greatly enhance collaboration between the academic and industry sectors, and makes us part of a broader national network of defence-related research.
“This will enable WA researchers to more easily link into projects, boosting our own State’s capability and future-proofing WA’s defence industry, keeping and growing skills and knowledge here and creating job opportunities for Western Australians.”
As stated by Chairperson of the Defence Science Centre Advisory Board, Russell Potapinski:
“I’m honoured to take up the position of inaugural Chair of the Defence Science Centre.
“I look forward to playing a role in promoting even greater knowledge sharing and collaboration between government, industry and universities. Woodside has a strong track record of collaborative innovation partnerships, including with NASA. Woodside is a big supporter of Western Australian innovation capabilities, including in the area of remote operations – where space, defence and resources share common interests and challenges.”
As stated by Curtin University Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Chris Moran:
“Curtin University has world-recognised expertise in digital innovation, engineering marine acoustics and a global capability in the issues we face in the future of work. Working collaboratively with university partners, this expertise positions us to deliver high-impact research and multi-disciplinary solutions for Australia’s defence and national security needs. We welcome the establishment of the Defence Science Centre. This new centre will play a critical role in strengthening our collaborative efforts to build WA’s defence science capability and to grow the State’s defence industry.”
As stated by ECU Vice Chancellor, Professor Steve Chapman:
“ECU is committed to making a difference through programs that are relevant and responsive to the real world needs of our community. Defence has an important role to protect Australia and our national interests, which would benefit from our leading edge research in collaboration with our WA university partners and be greatly assisted by the establishment of the Defence Science Centre.”
As stated by UWA Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Simon Biggs:
“Western Australia is already a global research leader and The University of Western Australia is at the forefront of research and development in the energy and resources sectors, as well as the disciplines of marine engineering and science. The spin-off from these areas can help to develop solutions for the nation’s defence technology requirements. The ripple effect from localising this expertise will enable Western Australia to stake a claim as a leading innovator in defence technology, resulting in direct economic benefits for the wider WA community.”
As stated by Murdoch University Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor David Morrison:
“Murdoch is a research-led university, which focuses on multidisciplinary translational research with real-life impact. We welcome the development of the Defence Science Centre to harness the potential of academic collaboration and innovative thinking at universities to focus on Defence and industry challenges. Murdoch University’s research will help to solve many challenges faced by Australia’s Defence Forces, particularly our work in optimising human cognitive and physical performance.”
As stated by APR.Intern Director and Melbourne Enterprise Professor, Gary Hogan AM:
“The placements are a welcome boost for Western Australia’s small business sector and a positive step towards realising the objectives of NRIP.
“Contributing to the delivery of NRIP, the placements under the APR.Intern program will allow SMEs to cost-effectively tap into specialist research talent with unique skillsets to advance Western Australian defence innovation.”