Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Public Sector Management; Federal-State Relations

Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA

Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA

Minister for Police; Road Safety; Defence Industry; Veterans Issues

    WA's first ever defence research grants to help national security

    19/11/2019 9:00 AM
    • Five WA university researchers and their collaborators share in around $700,000
    • The State Government's Defence Science Centre grants aim to bring together universities, businesses and government to undertake research that will support defence and national security capability
    • Research grants promote skills exchange to cultivate innovation and boost jobs
    • McGowan Government continues to diversify the economy and strengthen defence capabilities  
    • Recipients announced at international submarine conference - SubTECS5 in Fremantle

    Teaming people with artificial intelligence in warfare strategies, addressing biological warfare and communication with autonomous underwater vehicles are some of the projects which will benefit from the Defence Science Centre's inaugural defence research grants.


    Premier Mark McGowan announced the inaugural research grants during his opening address at the Submarine Science, Technology and Engineering Conference 2019 - SubTEC5 in Fremantle.


    The Defence Science Centre grants aim to bring together universities, businesses and government to undertake research that will support defence and national security capability.


    The first round of grants fund exciting projects which will see Western Australian universities collaborate with national and international universities, some of the world's biggest defence industry companies and the Commonwealth's Defence Science and Technology Group.


    Today's recipients' announcement comes as some of the biggest global companies join government agencies, academics, the maritime and subsea industry and research organisations at the international submarine conference, SubSTEC5.


    The conference's wide range of speakers will explore topics including subsea, offshore science, technology and engineering, engineering design, emerging and disruptive submarine technologies, workforce skills development and translational research and intellectual property protection.


    Presented by the Submarine Institute of Australia and proudly supported by the State Government through Defence West, SubSTEC5 is expected to attract up to 400 delegates to the Esplanade Hotel from today (November 19) to November 21, 2019.


    Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia said the conference was timely as the Commonwealth would soon make a decision about whether to transfer all COLLINS class submarine maintenance to Western Australia.


    The McGowan Government is committed to diversifying the economy and strengthening its defence capabilities and is making the case, in the national interest, to move Full Cycle Docking of COLLINS class submarines to WA.


    It follows two independent studies which have found significant strategic and economic benefits of moving this work to Western Australia - including the creation of more than 3,000 jobs at the program's peak and the capacity to generate up to $8.4 billion to Gross State Product over the life of the program. 


    Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:


    "The research grants will bring some of the leading defence industry stakeholders together in Western Australia to find solutions or new ways to tackle defence and national security issues. It's part of a bigger program of works to benefit the industry through cross-industry innovation and strengthens our State's defence capabilities.


    "We have a highly capable defence industry and world-class industrial facilities, and are ready to take on the maintenance and sustainment of our naval fleet.


    "Moving Full Cycle Docking to Western Australia is in the national interest, it will result in a significant job boost and will generate millions of dollars for the State and independent studies show WA is ready and able to deliver on the country's strategic defence needs.


    "Playing host to SubSTEC5 allows Western Australia to show its outstanding capabilities to leading industry figures and remain at the forefront of industry technology and advancements."


    Comments attributed to Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia:


    "The Defence Science Centre grants program is a key pillar of the McGowan Government's target to grow the State's defence industry, support Defence and create new jobs.


    "Defence needs are both varied and highly technical, and WA's world-leading expertise in robotics, cybersecurity and automation are examples of technologies that can be developed to have significant defence applications.


    "The McGowan Government has put forward a comprehensive case that it's in the national interest to bring COLLINS class submarine Full Cycle Docking to Henderson.


    "Not only do we have a highly skilled workforce, we already perform COLLINS class Mid Cycle Docking in the West.


    "Supporting a strong and enduring defence presence is a key strategy of WA's Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan."


    Premier's office - 6552 5000

    Defence Issues Minister's office - 6552 5600




    Interactive Evolutionary Computation for the Discovery of Warfighting Strategies


    Led by Edith Cowan University in collaboration with Curtin University, Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) and Thales.


    It aims to address the question 'How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) and human decision makers work together to discover novel strategies in warfighting scenarios?'.


    Preclinical testing of novel compounds against multi-drug resistant bacteria of biological warfare concern


    Led by The University of Western Australia (UWA) in collaboration with Monash University, Murdoch University and Defence Materials Technology Centre.


    This project aims to develop new antimicrobials to effectively treat bacteria that are considered biological warfare threats.


    High Speed Multimodal Underwater Wireless Communications


    Led by Curtin University in collaboration with Edith Cowan University. It is also supported by DST offering facilities and L3 Harris offering supply of equipment.


    Underwater drones such as gliders and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) will have a large impact on Australian Navy undersea operations. The research will determine the communication performance achievable by a novel multimodal system for high-speed underwater wireless communication between submarines, ships and AUVs. 


    Optimising team development and performance via team reflection protocols


    Led by Curtin University in collaboration with Macquarie University, DST, Army and UWA. It is also supported by staff at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Thales.


    This proposal aims to address gaps identified in current training and development programs designed to enhance or maximise team effectiveness, particularly with regard to team reflection processes following team level activity. Researchers will summarise evidence on team reflections and combine and apply this knowledge with Defence stakeholders to produce an evidence-based protocol that is fit for purpose for military teams.


    Cognitive Biosecurity: Assessment and training perceptual expertise for defence biosecurity threats


    Led by Murdoch University in collaboration with UWA, Michigan State University and DST.


    The overseas deployment of naval vessels can transport non-native marine biofouling species to Australia posing a biosecurity threat and increasing operational costs. Increased movement of naval vessels increases these risks and costs. This proposal aims to enhance maritime biosecurity effectiveness for naval vessels by developing effective biosecurity training materials and methods. This includes consideration of game-based training for surveillance and recognition, and investigating the impact of environmental and human factors on surveillance and detection performance.