A Defence Innovation Hub success story: SME wins grant for innovative technology development

innovative technology

Image credit: Systematiq

Innovative technology is at the core of our Australian Defence industry with local advanced manufacturers at the cutting-edge of new discoveries and technical applications. But to develop and operationalise these exciting ideas, they require Australian Defence funding. Faced with time consuming and complicated grant applications, it’s easy to become discouraged. So, how does an SME create a successful grant submission and secure critical funding to develop a new product? 

The answer lies partly in partnering with an experienced consulting company. With strategic guidance, the ability to articulate the benefits to the ADF, identify a value proposition, and any critical information in completing the final steps of a submission, SMEs can confidently navigate the funding process led by seasoned experts. Utilising their knowledge and experience, SMEs can submit an application which reflects the excellence of their product.   

The development of the next generation soldier

100 per cent veteran owned and operated manufacturer, Spearpoint Technologies had created an integrated Digital Combat Helmet System (DCHS) concept for Australian soldiers. The DCHS is unique in how it combines multiple technologies such as facial recognition, Physiological Data Management systems, and joint fires predictions and calculations, into a single package. The proposed innovation provides increased situational awareness to soldiers as all digital feeds are communicated to the helmet through visualised fields via the Projection Visor (or the Heads Up Display). These feeds include maps, co-ordinates, friendly or enemy locations, and navigational aids and bearings.  

However, Spearpoint required funding to develop and deliver the DCHS to the Australian Defence Force. Spearpoint opted to apply for a Defence Innovation Hub (DIH) grant which provides funding for SMEs to further develop their innovative technology intended for the Defence market. As a way to encourage innovative developments within the industry, each DIH proposal is evaluated for its suitability, feasibility, timeliness, and contribution to the Australian Defence industry.  

As Peter Weir, Systematiq’s Project Manager said, “A DIH project is significantly different to a normal Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Group (CASG) project. Innovation or Research & Development contracts are generally conceptual and it takes a lot of time in scoping suppliers and their particular capability or technology and associated costing. It takes a lot of effort, experience and confidence to get it off the ground.”  

Faced with the sizeable task of completing the stringent grant application process while also maintaining their business operations, Spearpoint turned to Systematiq for assistance.  

A collaborative and thorough process 

To ensure that Spearpoint could make the compelling case of how their innovative technology would benefit the Australian Defence industry, Systematiq came on board to provide project management support.  

Bringing together and coordinating the eight collaborating businesses (part of a larger consortium of companies called Team ARAGUNG) across the globe during a pandemic was not an easy task. Systematiq provided assistance by coordinating the multiple suppliers with different technologies from various time zones. Working with all businesses, Systematiq successfully designed a practical work plan and milestones, managed the application project and developed the Defence Innovation Hub documentation. 

Spearpoint developed the concept for an extremely innovative product, however they needed Systematiq’s expertise to provide the necessary documentation and framework as part of their application. This was essential to achieve a positive outcome as Spearpoint needed to prove they had the required systems and processes in place to deliver the project on a larger scale.  

Systematiq provided additional support to the submission with their expertise of ILS, Systems Engineering, and Pre-Contract support. Their experience and confidence in understanding the Defence requirements was crucial and enabled Spearpoint to concentrate on delivering the technologies associated with the system.  

Spearpoint Managing Director, Dan Skinner, said “Systematiq provided us the very necessary expertise in getting this project up and running. From the submission itself through to project management and systems engineering support now that we are underway, the team at Systematiq continues to be a great partner for Team ARAGUNG”. 

A successful outcome

With Systematiq’s assistance, Spearpoint were able to submit a grant application which they were extremely proud of. Combining passion, innovation and strategy resulted in a powerful and persuasive grant application. With the announcement of Spearpoint being awarded a $2.7 million DIH grant, the Australian Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price congratulated the recipients.  

“These investments demonstrate the importance of Defence’s partnership with the Australian defence industry and innovation sector, and how we can work together to improve capabilities and support available to our ADF personnel. These contracts will enable the development of promising technologies that could help protect and sustain Australian personnel in the field.” Minister Price said.  

However, Systematiq’s assistance with the grant process does not necessarily finish after submitting. Following the successful grant process, Spearpoint has continued to partner with Systematiq in the delivery phase of their product to Defence and also assist with the preparation of the submission for the next Project Phase to DIH.  

Striving towards an innovative future

With the success of Spearpoint’s application, Australia’s soldiers are a step closer to an integrated digital combat system that will make them more effective and stay safer during combat.  

As Australian technology suppliers and manufacturers continue to be innovative within the Defence sector, and contribute to Australian sovereign capability through supply chain integration, they will need to be supported by experienced consultants like Systematiq to successfully secure funding. 

Through Systematiq’s ability to articulate and synthesise win themes into a value proposition, create highly engaging documentation, and seamlessly integrate and work with stakeholders, your organisation can submit a winning grant application. With over ten years of experience, Systematiq provides passion and sheer determination to bring your project to life.  

As Spearpoint Manager Director, Dan Skinner said “If you have a DIH submission, Systematiq are the go-to team for you!” 

This is a great example of how SMEs can partner with a consulting company to form a trusted partnership in order to boost their capacity, solve a business problem, or help create certainty.  

For more information, visit https://www.systematiq.com.au/what-we-do/defence-consulting/

By Systematiq staff 

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