Science and technology partnerships are integral to providing the capability necessary to deliver innovative solutions for Defence and national security.
Defence’s response to COVID-19 was enhanced by information available through the rapidly established Five Nation Research and Development Council. This was supplemented by leveraging other links, such as CSIRO’s involvement in the Biosafety Level 4 Zoonotic Laboratory Network.
During the reporting period, Defence engagement with industry, academia and publicly funded research agencies increased. This was facilitated by 607 agreements established during the period, representing a 15 per cent increase from the previous financial year.
Defence’s academic partnerships have been expanded to include all 37 public Australian universities under the new Defence Science Partnerships framework implemented in April 2020. Theme-based research networks have also been established with academia to increase collaboration and sovereign capability.
The Defence Science and Technology Group is trialling for Defence a new security framework to safeguard sensitive technologies and capabilities associated with collaborative research activities. The security framework will help ensure that technology advantages being developed for Defence are not compromised or lost to competitors and adversaries.
A new strategic relationship has been agreed with CSIRO, and Defence’s engagement with industry continues to progress through the strategic alliance partnerships. A new governance framework for technology transfer activities has been developed, with over 135 instances of intellectual property evaluated for potential transfer to industry.
The Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement with India was ratified in June 2020 as part of the Australia–India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Partnerships with the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and France were also advanced during the reporting period.
Defence has developed a STEM Outreach and Engagement Plan, with implementation expected to commence towards the end of 2020. The plan builds on the Defence STEM Workforce Strategic Vision and provides a roadmap for developing our STEM workforce pipeline.
With the launch of More, Together: Defence Science and Technology Strategy 2030 in May 2020, Defence is transforming the way it partners with the national science and technology enterprise. Potential partners are being engaged from the outset to ensure early buy-in, remove disconnects in innovation pathways and shorten the time it takes to translate research into Defence capability.
Specific partnering initiatives are being developed to shape the national science and technology enterprise. This includes growing national capabilities in critical areas of science and technology, leveraging research networks and encouraging multi-party collaboration.