Defence Materials Technology Centre launches National Health Security Readiness Assessment

The Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) is reaching out to manufacturers as it commences the National Health Security Readiness Assessment of medical countermeasures and related technologies in Australia.

The assessment will focus on the capacity of Australian manufacturing and supply chains and will include a detailed examination of Australia’s capability and capacity for research, development, manufacture and distribution of priority products and solutions to contribute to sovereign resilience and national health security. It is expected to be completed in mid-2021.

The scope will go beyond Medical Countermeasures to include Australia’s in-country capacity with regard to personnel protective equipment (PPE), medical devices, hazard management, modelling and simulation and sensing systems.

“In responding to – but also learning from – the COVID pandemic, this is a critical moment in which to examine progress, assess the current health of the sector in Australia, and inform the development of policy and program priorities for investment in the near and longer term,” DMTC’s Head of Health Security Dr Leigh Farrell said.

“In addition, this national assessment will, for the first time, use an integrated and secure digital platform which will enable real-time updates and provide an accurate and validated view of sovereign expertise and industrial capability to respond to emerging threats.”

The NHSRA will be led by Dr Farrell and Dr Felicia Pradera, the program leader for the Medical Countermeasures initiative at DMTC. Pradera was a co-author of the 2012 and 2017 assessments.

The Medical Countermeasures initiative led by DMTC (formerly the Defence Materials Technology Centre) addresses priorities for military health and broader public, regional and national health security threats. Established with seed funding from CSIRO and Defence’s Next Generation Technologies Fund, the Medical Countermeasures initiative is guided by a senior stakeholder group with representatives from relevant Australian government agencies.

“DMTC’s relationship with Defence and other agencies provides an agile, scalable mechanism for building sovereign industrial capability in priority areas, and for addressing and remediating specific industrial, manufacturing or technology-related capability gaps,” DMTC CEO Dr Mark Hodge said.

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