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Defence Trailblazer launches in Adelaide and Canberra

The $240 million Defence Trailblazer program has been launched officially by Senator Anthony Chisholm, Assistant Minister for Education and Regional Development. It is a strategic partnership between the University of Adelaide and UNSW Sydney with support from the Australian Government’s Department of Education and also has more than 35 industry partners.

The program will focus on building defence workforce capabilities and co-designing multi-domain solutions for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Key focus areas for the program are:

  • quantum technologies
  • defensive hypersonics and countermeasures
  • robotics, autonomous systems and AI (RAS-AI)
  • defence space technologies
  • cyber and information warfare (IW).

“Defence Trailblazer is a once in a generation opportunity to help transform the defence innovation ecosystem, bringing together defence, industry and academic partners to accelerate the delivery of sovereign capabilities for the nation’s security and prosperity,” said Defence Trailblazer Executive Director, Dr Sanjay Mazumdar.

Among the first group of partners are industry leaders Boeing Defence Australia, CAE Australia, Cisco, Leidos Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, Northrop Grumman Australia, Raytheon Australia, Saab Australia and Thales, along with a diverse mix of SMEs and start-up companies including Diraq, Elysium EPL, Geodrones, Greenroom Robotics, HB11, QuantX, Silentium Defence, Space Machines, SRC Aus and Viden.

“Working with industry partners to spearhead faster innovation cycles will be key to the success of the program in meeting the challenges of a rapidly evolving threat landscape,” said Dr Mazumdar

“Innovation is not a choice, but a strategic imperative for our industry to proactively address the evolving needs of defence and delivering at a point of need and time” said Matthew Sibree, Managing Director Indo-Pacific, CAE Defence & Security.

University of Adelaide’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Peter Høj AC said that the Defence Trailblazer is an example of true collaboration.

“We are pleased to partner with an outstanding University such as UNSW. Not only will this program develop cutting-edge science and technology, but it will also equip the next generation of innovators with specialised knowledge and skills to meet the defence sector’s needs now, and in coming decades.”

“UNSW has a proud track record of commercialising research projects that develop into real-world outcomes,” said UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs. “And we know that University-industry collaboration is imperative to ensure research is translated into outcomes that benefit all Australia.

“Like our friends at the University of Adelaide, UNSW has a long history of partnering with the defence sector and is a leader in defence research, with strengths in space, cyber, hypersonics, quantum and autonomy.”

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