Defence to host pitch day for innovative ideas

Brandon How

Innovative firms will have just three minutes to woo senior Defence officials during a new pitch day set up by the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator, but it could be enough to put them in range of a contract.

The new bi-annual pitch day will be held for the first time on September 18, with prospective participants invited to express their interest before July 22.

‘Innovative asymmetric advantage’ is the theme of the first pitch day, which will see successful participants invited to a procurement process delivering development contracts worth up to $750,000 over six months.

The event will take place at the Australian Defence Science, Technology and Research Summit 2024 in Canberra. Winners will be announced at the event’s gala dinner.

Defence industry minister Pat Conroy. Image: Defence/Lauren Larking

It is open to industry and academia, who are asked to “provide insights on technologies that can provide asymmetric capability advantages” in their submissions.

Asymmetric advantage refers to capabilities that “pit strength against weakness and disrupt a potential adversary’s decision calculus”, according to expression of interest documents.

Innovative technologies must be a novel and non-obvious advancement in line with a Defence strategic priority, excluding incremental improvements.

The pitch day will also exclude “technologies existing overseas that have not yet been introduced into the Australian market”.

Defence industry minister Pat Conroy said “with this week marking ASCA’s first anniversary, it’s only fitting we announce the inaugural pitch day, underscoring our commitment to supporting industry and ensuring our ADF personnel are equipped with the capabilities they need”.

“One year after the establishment of ASCA, we’re already seeing initiatives and local innovators getting the support they need to help grow our sovereign industrial base and contribute to a future made in Australia.”

The intention of ASCA is to serve as a link between industry and Defence to accelerate the pace of getting new capabilities into the hands of the Australian Defence Force, which has noticeably improved according to some.

The Defence Industry Development Strategy, released at the end of February, halved the number of sovereign capability priorities to seven but streamlined the government’s approach to grants. It will be complemented by a new Defence Innovation Strategy later this year.

A separate ASCA-supported Army Innovation Day event is targeting capabilities for the littoral operating environment – areas of coastline that can be influenced or supported by land, and vice versa.

The $16 million procurement opportunity will be held at the international defence expo Land Forces 2024, also in September.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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