Defence offers to help commercialise Australian tech

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The Department of Defence is urging Australian researchers and SMEs to consider new national security applications for their technologies, offering to connect them with the local industry and the Australian Defence Force to help commercialise their work.

Under the D.Start Ignite program, which is now accepting applicants for the a new Autumn cohort, selected small research teams and SMEs will receive advice and mentoring on defence innovation and entrepreneurship over a free 11-week course delivered virtually by CSIRO.

Participants’ science or technology needs to have a dual defence and civilian application with the potential to address one of the Department of Defence’s eight Science Technology and Research (STaR) Shots.

Image: Department of Defence

The STaR Shots are the aspirational missions identified by the Department of Defence in its 2030 technology roadmap. They are Resilient Multi-mission space, Information Warfare, Agile Command and Control, Quantum assured position navigation and timing, Disruptive Weapon Effects, Operating in CBRN environments, Battle Ready Platforms, and Remote Undersea Surveillance.

The Department of Defence is particularly interested in projects that also align with its $1.2 billion Next Generation Technologies Fund’s priority areas, including space, cyber quantum and autonomous systems.

The D.Start Ignite program will aim to help researchers and SMEs developing technology in the areas to identify their ideal customer, validate the problems their technology solves, and guide them across the Defence and Defence Industry landscape.

Drone companies, cybersecurity researchers, and CSIRO’s own “biological passports” for military personnel are among the program’s previous participants.

Applications for the April cohort close 21 January, with successful applicants to be notified two weeks later following an evaluation by a panel of external Defence, science leaders, and commercial experts.

D.Start Ignite is free for participants, and they will retain intellectual property. It is delivered under the Department of Defence’s Next Generation Technologies Fund.

The fund was established in 2016 to back research and development for cutting edge defence technologies. It was topped up in 2020 to $1.2 billion, but had allocated only $282 million to 282 activities by mid-2021.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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