$730M is available from the Next Generation Technologies Fund to invest in strategic next generation technologies that have the potential to deliver game-changing capabilities.

Next Generation Technologies Fund

The Next Generation Technologies Fund is an entirely new program which the Defence Science and Technology Group will be progressively delivering over the next few years. Initial funding for innovation proposals in next generation technologies will be limited but will grow over time.

 

Background

The Next Generation Technologies Fund is a forward looking program which will focus on research and development in emerging and future technologies and develop early ideas into innovation concepts that could further be explored and matured through the Defence Innovation Hub. This will include technologies that are expected to deliver on a time horizon that may be greater than ten years.

The Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) and the Defence Innovation Hub are separate initiatives within the new integrated Defence innovation system. The NGTF is focused on science and research proposals that are early in the innovation spectrum, while the Defence Innovation Hub is focused on ideas that are able to deliver Defence capability and Australia defence industry growth in the near term. Put simply, the NGTF focuses on research and the Defence Innovation HUb focuses on development.

 

Funding

The Next Gen Tech Fund will invest $730 million over the decade to 2026. It is managed by Defence Science and Technology (DST).

 

Innovation Priorities

Defence has identified the following innovation and investment priorities for the Defence Innovation Hub for FY 2016-17:

  1. Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare, Space and Cyber
  2. Key Enablers
  3. Land Combat and Amphibious Warfare

 

NGTF Priorities for Investment

The priority areas for the Next Generation Technologies Fund, as described in the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement, are:

  • Integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance – effective enterprise intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance integration and interoperability with our allies will provide a capability edge through superior battlespace awareness.
  • Space capabilities – de-risking Defence’s dependence on space ‑ based systems through technical expertise and enhanced capability agility.
  • Enhanced human performance – including enhancing soldiers’ resilience and ability to interpret and use data in the battlefield.
  • Medical countermeasure products – establishing and coordinating a national infrastructure for the rapid development of medical countermeasure products to provide effective protection of Defence personnel from a range of chemical, biological and radiological threats, pandemics and emerging infectious diseases.
  • Multidisciplinary material sciences – investigating technological advances to reduce detection of ADF platforms and improve ballistic and shock protection. Exploring materials and processes that support advanced manufacturing.
  • Quantum technologies – increasing the security of military and government communications and computing through strengthened encryption and exploring new types of sensors based on quantum systems.
  • Trusted autonomous systems – researching developments in trusted autonomous systems that may have the potential to support ADF capability in the future, such as the use of autonomous vehicles for resupply.
  • Cyber – establishing a research and development capability to address the threats presented by information and communications technology dependencies and vulnerabilities within military systems.
  • Hypersonics – understanding the science behind hypersonic flight including propulsion, flight dynamics, control surfaces and materials that support flight systems.
  • Directed energy capabilities – research to explore novel technologies and the basic sciences of devices to better understand and develop building blocks for future directed energy capabilities.

 

Six capability streams

1. Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare, Space and Cyber stream

Defence is interested in technologies, systems and processes that improve intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination across all capabilities within Defence and in all domains; land, maritime and aerospace.

This includes the advanced use of biometric data, as well as innovation in cyber to support every facet of capability development.

Supporting the shift from Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance to Targeting, as well as the advancement of hypersonic technology as an opportunity for Defence’s space capabilities also warrant attention in this stream.

 

2. Key Enablers stream

Defence needs advanced command and control systems across all domains spanning the strategic to tactical levels and is seeking innovative solutions that will expand as well as improve command and control of defence forces.

Innovation opportunities were also recognised in the Force Structure Review in strategic and satellite communication, simulation and further research into energy resilience and joint health.

 

3. Land Combat and Amphibious Warfare stream

There is an increased focus on remotely operated and autonomous platforms, nanotechnology and support of close quarters combat, the Special Forces and Soldier Systems programs. We are seeking innovative solutions that enhance the ADF’s ability to operate in a safe and effective manner in the land and littoral zones. Advanced protection systems for vehicles and individual soldiers that do not inhibit mobility are also of considerable interest.

 

4. Strike and Air Combat stream

Defence is seeking to develop a fifth generation air force and is seeking innovative ideas to increase the operational effectiveness of individual air combat capabilities and the operation of air defence systems including early warning and control, electronic warfare and airborne weapons systems. Ideas on improved technologies that to sense and understand the operating environment are encouraged.

 

5. Maritime and Anti-Submarine Warfare stream

Defence is interested in technologies, systems and processes that increase the survivability and effectiveness of all maritime platforms. This might include but is not limited to signature management, autonomous platforms, advanced environmental sensing systems and advanced concepts for crewing and human machine integration.

 

6. Air and Sea Lift stream

Most platforms Defence operates in this capability stream are off-the-shelf solutions but Defence would like to receive innovative proposals that can increase the operational performance and/or reduce the cost of ownership. This might include prognostic health management, data analytics or intelligent logistics planning and tracking systems.

Next Generation Technologies Fund – Financial Year 2016-17

Grand Challenges and Defence Cooperative Research Centres (DCRC) (large-scale) – $5 million

NGTF Portfolio ElementFY 2016-17 BudgetPartners (current and planned)
The first Grand Challenge addressing ‘Counter Improvised Threats’ is ready to launch with a national call in March 2017$2.5 millionCurrent partners in the Challenge scoping phase only:Teledyne Australia, University of South Australia, Wollongong University, Adelaide University
The first DCRC in Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS) is strongly engaged nationally with a national call for participation followed by beginning operations in the second half of 2017$2.5 millionCurrent: Initial request for information has been solicited from public funded research agencies and 25 universities across states and territories who participate in Defence Science Partnerships

Strategic Research Projects (mid-scale) – $9 million

NGTF Portfolio ElementFY 2016-17 BudgetPartners (current and planned)
Medical Countermeasures: Four projects with twelve partners have been collaboratively funded through the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC). Funding contributions have come from the NGTF, CSIRO and Participants in the program. A second national call for projects is underway.$2.5 millionCurrent: Certara Australia, Planet Innovation, Anteo Diagnostics, MiniFab, Trajan Scientific Australia, Hydrix, Deakin University, Monash University, University of Western Australia, University of Wurzburg, CSIRO, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) UK
Hypersonics, Directed Energy and Advanced Sensors: The next in a series of new hypersonics flight trials, HiFire4, is in development with national and international collaborators. Launch is planned for June 2017$2.2 millionCurrent: University of Queensland, Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, and the US Air Force Research Laboratory
Cyber: a Defence-CSIRO (Data61) partnership with co-investment from CSIRO$2.5 millionPlanned: funding disbursed through CSIRO to: University of South Australia, University of New South Wales, University of Melbourne, Deakin University, University of Sydney, University of Queensland, Australian National University, Swinburne University of Technology
Quantum Technologies: Six research projects with nine national centres of expertise have been scoped and targeted for commencement FY 2016-17 in the areas of computing, communications and quantum sensors$500kPlanned: Australian National University, University of Western Australia, Adelaide University, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Quintessence Labs, ADFA, CQC2T
Multidisciplinary Material Sciences: Nine projects involving 16 partner research institutions are scoped and ready to begin$1 millionPlanned: Monash University, University of Melbourne, RMIT University, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, University of Adelaide,  University of Tasmania, Wollongong University, Queensland University of Technology, CSIRO, ANSTO, Siemens Ltd, SES Pty Ltd, ANSTO, BAE Systems

Innovation and Exploration (small-scale) – $2.8 million

NGTF Portfolio ElementFY 2016-17 BudgetPartners (current and planned)
Defence Research Accelerator: Small-scale investments in pilots (the successful US program Hacking 4 Defence is being piloted in Australia to meet Australian defence purposes). This program will leverage existing accelerators (e.g. CSIRO’s ON Prime program) to address Defence requirements$210kCurrent: BMNT partners
Small Business Innovation Research for Defence (SBIRD):Defence is establishing a pilot program to fund research in small-to-medium enterprises and start-ups from academia, modelled on successful international programs. The pilot will initiate with a national, open call for research proposals in April 2017.$600kPlanned: The pilot will initiate with a national, open call for research proposals in April 2017.
Defence Science Institute (DSI) Networks: Defence will continue to support the DSI in Victoria and leverage the model to establish new state-based university research networks in New South Wales and South Australia.$550kPlanned: South Australian and New South Wales Universities will start to receive funding in Q2 2017.  
University Research Networks in Enhanced Human Performance: In the land domain, a research network addressing battlefield casualty survival and recovery is ready to call nationally for Expressions of Interest. In the air domain, a research program in the area of team performance and training is finalising four research agreements for seed funding with two Australian universities. Scoping studies will begin in March 2017.$600kPlanned: In the land domain, partners will be chosen through a national, open call in March 2017. In the air domain, seed funding is allocated to Deakin University and RMIT University.
Technology Foresighting: The next in The Emerging and Disruptive Technology Assessment Symposium series will be held in April – May 2017, addressing ‘Information, Knowledge and Digital Disruption in Defence’.Two further events are planned for FY 2017-18, in the field of Advanced Manufacturing and Materials and Advances in Biotechnologies.$600kCurrent: Noetic Solutions Pty Ltd

Media Release

DST will soon be inviting industry and universities to participate in shaping the topic for the next Grand Challenge under the Next Generation Technologies Fund.

A series of workshops will be held in each capital city to help frame the discussion and scope the potential challenges that Defence needs to address. The topic must relate to one of the 9 priority areas identified under the Next Generation Technologies Fund.

After the workshops, suggestions for potential topics can be submitted on the Innovation Portal. Once Defence has selected a topic, proposals will be invited to address the Grand Challenge.

Information on how to participate in the public workshops will be available on the Defence Innovation Portal.